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Ep.67 – Adam's Tale - Vicious Bloody Terror Comes in Small Sizes!

Episode Notes

On a camping trip Adam learns that bears and wolves aren't the most dangerous creatures in the woods, something else is coming and it's hungry for blood!

Adam's Tale by Joe Solmo http://pennedinblood.com

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In another time, the cool, damp, night air would have felt good on Adam’s drunk face. The moonlight shone between the thick branches of an ancient maple tree only feet away. It might have been a mile away as far as Adam was concerned. It was the pine tree he worried about. The pine tree that he could smell but not see. Its rough bark dug into his back as he struggled with the bonds that held him in place. How he got here was some sort of mystery. The woods he remembered. A party he remembered. Camping with friends was the last thing that he remembered. Where were they now? Did one of them do this? Where was Felicia? He tried again to turn his head to get a better view of his surroundings, but he still couldn’t move. Something was around his forehead keeping him against the hard, rough bark of the tree. He strained his ears, listening for some clue that could give him answers, but the only sounds he heard were a rustling in the branches above him in the trees. At first, he was alarmed but relaxed after realizing that whatever was up there, was too small to give him trouble. It was the animal that tied him up, that he was most interested in, anyway. “Are you out there?” he asked the night and listened. No response. He knew the man had to be out there somewhere. “Hello?” Adam called out to his captor. Frustrated, he kicked his feet, disturbing the bed of pine needles. That was when he heard the snicker. In the shadows of the maple in front of him something moved. A flash of orange light illuminated a face Adam had never seen before as it lit his cigarette. Who was this guy? “Who are you?” Adam asked, straining to see in the dark. “Let’s not worry about that now. You won’t be around long enough for us to get acquainted. It’s near midnight. The witching hour and all that,” the stranger said, waving his cigarette around as he talked. “Where are my friends?” Adam asked. “What did you do to them?” “I didn’t do anything. All I did was set the plate. Everything has to eat,” the stranger mumbled. “What the fuck does that mean? Untie me!” Adam said. “Why would I do that. Today has been going great so far. The best in a long time. They will be pleased.” Adam struggled against the bonds that held his arms behind his back, nearly dislocating his shoulder in the process. He grunted with the effort, which made the stranger laugh. He approached Adam and kneeled down, making intense eye contact with Adam. He got so close Adam could smell the man, a combination of cigarette smoke, sweat and halitosis, but the man’s icy stare kept him from retching from the smell. There was a timelessness in those eyes. He was only two inches from Adam’s face now. Too close for Adam. “Save your strength for the screaming, there will be lots of screaming,” he said and cracked a smile. He touched Adam’s cheek with his lit cigarette. Adam yelled out and tried to twist out from under the burning cigarette, but the iron clad grip on his head wouldn’t let go. He cried out into the chilly night again and again as the man burned him. Each touch a shock of pain on his cheek. “Yeah, like that. I think you will do fine,” the stranger said and laughed. In the distance a wolf howled, followed by another. Adam’s eyes widened. “Don’t you worry about them, now. Even they won’t come here,” the stranger said and flicked the rest of his cigarette at Adam. “This here is a special place. It’s time I head on out. They don’t like to be watched. This should buy my farm some time. They oughta leave me alone for a year at least.” “Who?” Adam said, but the man wandered off into the darkness without giving him an answer. He heard the wolves again and wondered if that was going to be how he died, torn to pieces by wolves. What was it the stranger said? The wolves won’t come here? Why not, he thought. He could smell the cigarette still burning and thought about it catching the bed of pine needles all over the ground on fire. He had a morbid question cross his mind. Would he rather die in a fire, or eaten by wolves? He almost laughed at the idea of getting a choice. He wondered if the wolves like Bar-B-Que. A half hour passed, the cigarette burned out and the wolves didn’t get any closer. He could still hear them howling out there in the forest somewhere. His cheek hurt from the stranger’s cigarette burn barrage and he wished he could look at it in the mirror. He heard sound of a small animal rustling in the dead leaves somewhere in front of him, near the maple tree the man had been standing by. He wished he knew why this was happening to him. The maple tree reminded him that the path beyond it leads to an old natural chimney. A rock formation that leads down into the earth. He had found out about it on a hiking app and he convinced his friends to come out here to hike and camp, but where were they now? He hoped they were ok. Adam thought his hand was going numb, the pins and needles sensation was beginning to set in, but then he realized it felt more like tiny little bites. He wiggled his fingers, and felt something furry run across his hands. What the fuck was that? Another nibble on his fingertips. “Ouch, you fucker!” he said and wriggled against his bonds as hard as he could, and to his surprise he freed his hands. He quickly worked on whatever was tying his head to the tree and wriggled free. He stood up and turned around to find a chipmunk sitting there, considering him with its black eyes. “You the one that bit me?” he called out and kicked at the rodent. It easily dodged his foot in the moonlight.  Adam rubbed his cheeks and tried to get a good idea of his surroundings. If the large maple was there, then camp must be this way, he thought and headed off in that direction trying to work the cramps out of his muscles. The little chipmunk hopped after him on the forest trail, keeping its distance. With all the roots and rocks, Adam stumbled through the woods while trying to make it back to camp, twice he almost fell, his hand was covered in mud and sticky pine pitch. He wiped them on his pants as he continued through the wood. He could just make out a fire ahead in the distance. It must be his friends! He called out to them. “Felicia! Jacob!” He got no response. He stumbled into the clearing, but he didn’t see anyone. His tent was on the other side of the dying fire, he went over to it and opened the flap. Felicia was inside, wrapped in her sleeping bag. They must have gone to sleep, he thought. He climbed into the tent and shook her, but she didn’t move. She was always a heavy sleeper. He poked her harder and lit the small battery powered lantern they use on camping trips. “Wake up! We have to get out of here!” he said. Finally, she was stirring he thought as he watched her swallow and turn her head.  “Come on!” Her mouth opened and a chipmunk climbed out, his face a crimson mask of Felicia’s blood. It squeaked twice and ran past him to the tent opening where another one was sitting watching him with those cold black eyes. “What the fuck is going on?” he called out and looked back down at Felicia. He shook her again, and got a better look at her. Her mouth was agape and he realized with horror that she had no tongue. He turned towards the doorway and saw that now there was about a dozen chipmunks standing there on hind legs watching him. The one with the bloody face took a step forward. “We are Tamias,” the bloody one squeaked. “Tamias,” the rest chirped in high pitched unison. “I’ve fucking lost it,” Adam whispered to himself and shook his head. “We demand payment for the transgression,” the chipmunk said. “Payment must be made. We demand it. The deal cannot be altered.” “I have no idea what you are talking about. What did you do to Felicia and Jacob?” he asked. Then started to laugh as he realized he was having a conversation with a chipmunk in a tent next to his dead girlfriend. Did he forget that he ate a bunch of mushrooms? “Two hundred cycles ago the deal was made. This land, our land to be shared. For a price. The blood price must be paid. A life for each season that passes, and we would share our sacred forest with the man and his kin. The most fertile land for his food to grow. Waters that grant a long life,” the chipmunk squeaked. The moonlight lit the orbs that watched him above its chubby cheeks. “I don’t understand,” Adam said and charged the entrance to the tent. The chipmunks scattered out of his way. He turned towards the tent and started to tear up as he glimpsed Felicia through the tent flap. The Tamias formed a circle around him, keeping out of kicking distance. “Human. You are the blood price. You and your friends must be given to the Tamias. The price must be paid!” the spokesperson for the chipmunks squeaked angerly. “You’re not going to get me. JACOB!” he yelled trying to get his friend to wake up. Maybe together they could escape this nightmare. “You friend is with the Dux Tamias. He cannot hear you,” the bloody chipmunk said calmly. “You will meet him soon yourself. The time draws near. The price must be paid.” “You can’t have us!” Adam yelled and ran to his friend’s tent. He ripped open the tent flap and jumped back at the horrid scene he saw inside. There was a chipmunk the size of a St. Bernard in the tent digging into his friend’s flesh, blood was everywhere. The large rodent turned to face him, an entrail hanging from its mouth, the soft tissue stuck between its elongated rodent teeth. He heard the patter of the chipmunk’s feet as they approached behind him. He backed out of the entrance to the tent, retching from the smell. “Dux Tamias, he is the sacrifice,” the bloody faced one squeaked and saluted the large beast. “It is promised. The blood,” the largest said leaving the tent. There was a shine of intelligence in its black eyes. “The blood,” the bloody one said. The rest of the chipmunks crossed their arms in salute as well, then returned to all fours. “Oh, fuck this nonsense,” Adam said and punted the closest chipmunk across the campsite. He turned towards the big one. “You want some of this?” he said angerly. “You are the promised. Bring the bowl,” The Dux Tamias said in a deeper voice that still squeaked and the bloody faced chipmunk ran off with two others. Adam looked around for a weapon. He saw his hiking staff near his tent. He worked his way over to it, keeping his eyes on the Dux Tamias. “You going to pay for this,” Adam said picking up the hiking staff. He pulled off the rubber tip that covered the metal spike underneath. He brandished it like a sword, pointing the tip at the Dux Tamias. “The bowl, the blood,” rang squeaky chipmunk voices as one. The bloody faced chipmunk returned with the others dragging a stained wooden bowl. The Dux Tamias stepped closer to Adam, a sneer crossed its adorable chubby cheeked face. “Stay back. I’ll skewer you and all your little friends. Roast you over the campfire,” Adam said and swung the staff at the large chipmunk. “Just like picking up trash!” he said and stabbed down, impaling one of the chipmunks who let out a chilling death squeak. The rest of the chipmunks circled Adam and started to squeak in unison to their approach. A marching cadence of the chipmunk army’s approach. Adam swung and knocked a chipmunk over. He turned towards the large one that was getting a little too close for comfort. He felt the weight of a few of them climbing up his legs, and tried to swat them off. That’s when the big one jumped on his back, knocking him to the ground. He hit his head on something hard and got dizzy. The Dux Tamias stuck its face close to Adam’s. “In two hundred years we have not gone without the blood. We will not now. Know this human. Your blood will satiate a hunger in us that is almost impossible to control. It keeps your species safe. It’s a noble thing, you are doing,” it squeaked. “The Blood. The bowl,” bloody face chipmunk said and dragged the bowl closer. The chipmunks all climbed on his back. He body was growing weak. Did he hit his head that hard? “By now the enzymes in our saliva have worked into your bloodstream. I am sure you remember a few nibbles back in the forest, yes?” came the voice behind him. Panic began to set in. For the first time Adam was worried for his own safety. Numbness took over most of his body as they moved the bowl under his cheek. He felt the Dux Tamias bite into his neck, and then the warm trickle of his own blood run down into the bowl. He couldn’t turn his head to see, but he felt the chipmunks leave his back and heard them slurping from the bowl. The Dux Tamias moved its form in front of Adam. It was hard for him to concentrate. The corners of his vision began to turn dark. He tried to focus on the dog sized rodent in front of him. That was when he noticed all the chipmunks were lined up in front of him like a buck toothed firing squad. “The Blood. The Life,” they all squeaked from the hole between their adorable chubby cheeks. Their black eyes flashed red before they charged him. He was helpless to stop it, Needle teeth tore into his face. He might have screamed just before darkness took over and he succumbed to the chipmunks will. 

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Ep.66 – For the Mother - Nordic Legend Becomes Bloody Reality!

Episode Notes

In a remote estate distant in the mountains something mysterious and bloody is going on, and it's all FOR THE MOTHER!

For the Mother by Mark T.B. Shields

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Astrid’s newly married grandparents had immigrated to America from a small Scandinavian village as teenagers a lifetime before she was conceived . In a similarly small California town, they opened an even smaller general store which grew just enough to support them and their one child; a girl named Synnove. The two of them worked very hard and when their only child grew up and married a fine young man from the city by the bay, they bought a small cabin in the nearby mountains on the lake. After a life of hard work and the birth of their first grandchild, they retired to the small cabin. 

Thanks to her grandfather, Astrid had always loved Norse mythology. Growing up she had spent most of her summers with her grandparents by that quiet lake.  Her grandfather took it upon himself to tell Astrid the many legends he brought with him from his childhood home.  She loved him telling and retelling her fantastic tales as they sat by the bonfire each summer night.  He told her tales such as “Sif and her Golden Hair”; “Sigurd and the Dragon”; and “Thor’s Fishing Trip”.  He seemed to know them all and when he inevitably retold her a story some night months later , they were always nearly identically.  He retold them as if he were relaying history; he retold them with passion;. he retold them like he believed them; and she remembered every word.  

Of these stories her favorite was always “The Death of Baldur''. The tragic tale of how Odin's wife Frigga's favorite son Baldur was killed by his blind brother Hodur aided by her adopted son Loki.  In the tale, a jealous Loki put the arrow in the hand of Hodur that killed Baldur the Beautiful.  She always wept by the time it ended. Forever hoping that this time Baldur would survive. 

After high school she applied and was accepted at Stanford where she chose her major, Actuarial Science, as a way to ensure future financial success. Although interesting to her, she wanted something a bit more light-hearted to break up the difficult class schedule. On a whim she decided to take an elective in the spring semester of her Junior year called “Early Scandinavian Folklore & Mythology” . This class soon became the highlight of her week.  At first it was the fact that her knowledge of Scandinavian folklore rivaled that of her professor.  She became a textbook example of a “Subject-Matter Expert” for the course and it made her very happy that the other students asked her for help often.  She seemed always to be the first to answer questions in discussions and to have the last word when it mattered.  Astrid loved the class as it was a way to always feel like she was close to her summer home and to help solidify a rather high GPA. 

This unintentional mental domination of the other students went on for nearly half the semester when her world changed forever. A handsome young student started to audit the class and immediately put everyone’s knowledge in that hall to shame. He usurped her position at the top of the class by having the ability to fill in holes of every legend they studied no matter the obscurity of it.  

The mysterious new student was not only well versed in Scandinavian Mythology, he was what one would call a perfect physical specimen.  In his usual attire of t-shirts and cargo shorts one could see an insanely muscular body that was only highlighted by his long blonde flowing locks and sky-blue eyes.   

To her girlish delight he introduced himself to her one day after class. It took her by her own estimation a good sixty seconds before she was able to respond. As he introduced himself as Baldur and looked into her eyes her first thought was “Yes, you are a god”.  

When Astrid finally spoke all her timid voice could say was her name “Astrid”.

“Yes, you are divinely beautiful” he said and when he asked her to walk with him, she was literally helpless to say no. 

That afternoon as they walked around the campus talking; she thought to herself that she was falling in love with a man she had just met. She didn’t know how this was possible, but she knew it was true.  That night she lost her virginity to this God among men and less than a month later they were married.   From that point on they were bound for life. 

Astrid was glad to be finally meeting Baldur’s family. Although they had been married since late spring, this winter trip had been their first chance to come together.  During the eight-hour drive from Stanford to his family homestead near Mt. Whitney, her excitement grew.

“Are we there yet?” 

Not taking his eyes off the winding mountain road Baldur said “Astrid, we are officially five minutes closer than we were when you asked the same question five minutes ago.” Running her hand down his powerful arm she cooed, “I know, it’s just that I have never met your family and you have told me so little about them.” 

“We’re just like most families.  We fight, but love each other. Mom is overbearing; dad is solemn; and my brothers are out to kill me if I don’t watch out.  You see, a normal family dynamic.  We should be at the cabin soon.” 

She glanced at the odometer and smiled knowing they were very close.  She giggled “Only about five miles out.” 

“Correct” was all he said as he turned up a driveway and drove under a stone arch emblazoned with their family's name; Borson.  As they pulled around the last corner and the home came into view Astrid was stunned.  He said they had money, but the home that sat before her was at least 20,000 square feet. 

“How can your family afford this?  You mentioned money, but this looks like money should not be a problem for your great-great-grandkids” 

Baldur pulled into the eight-car garage and said "It won’t be.  We are very financially secure." After he hopped out of the car he swung around and grabbed her door. "Welcome home."   She smiled and followed him in. 

As they entered the living room his parents sat sipping what appeared to be iced tea. 

"Mother. Father. We’re finally here." His dad stood and helped his pregnant wife to her feet. "Are we the last to get here?"  

"Yep, your brothers are downstairs preparing for later.  This must be the wife." 

"Mother, father meet Astrid.  Astrid this is my father, Odin and my mother Frigga." 

Astrid extended her hand. “Great to meet you. Baldur has told me so much about you.”

"Come now dear, we’re family now. Give your new mother a hug."  Reaching out Frigga gave Astrid a hug and Odin followed suit.  While still holding her Odin asked if she liked the house. 

"How could I not?   It is the most beautiful home I have ever seen." “Thank you.  The family has been working on it for a while now.  It was my fathers and his father before him. When I die, it will get passed on to the next generation.  This place is what you would call the family home.” 

Releasing the hug Astrid replied “Well, it’s truly breathtaking lovely, and it truly is great to meet Baldur’s parents.” 

“Hush dear.” said Odin. “We are your parents as well now. Baldur, let’s go help your brother's downstairs.  Leave the women here to get acquainted."  

Pointing, “After you Father.”

As the two men left the room,  Frigga grabbed Astrid ’s arm, "Come, child. Let’s get a drink,” 

As they walked, Astrid asked if everyone in the family was named after a Nordic god.

"No, just the three of us.  My other two sons are Larry and Christopher. Not as interesting as Baldur, but still good names. Now come sit. Drink some mead.  We cracked open a barrel.  I will warn you though, it will knock you on your bum." Astrid walked over and grabbed a mug off the coffee table. "What brand is this?" 

"Borson, we make it ourselves."  

"Obviously you guys make it yourself, you’re Nordic gods," Astrid took a drink and was amazed. "This is incredible." 

"Thank you, now come sit, before you fall.  We have so much to talk about."  Astrid sat after taking another sip. Her face was already getting warm. 

"Now Frigga or should I call you mother?" 

"Call me mother that is what I am." 

"Ok mother, I don’t mean to be rude, but I don’t think you should be drinking.”

“And why is that?”

“Well, because of the baby.  Research shows” Cutting her off and rubbing her own belly, Frigga said “I can assure you this child is perfectly fine.  I drank with all of my children and you can see how they turned out” 


“But nothing, our family all drank the mead and have given birth in this very home” 

Astrid was sure she had heard her right.   Europeans had not even gotten to California until the 1800's and as impressive as the home was, over 1000 years was a mistake spoken by a drunk old woman. 

Frigga took another drink of her mead and let out a sharp quick cry. Chuckling she said “The baby wants to join the world soon.   Either that or she wants more mead. “ 

“ You are an amazing woman. How is this possible at your age you even conceived?  How old are you?  I have so many questions?  I am so sorry if I stepped on any toes.”  

“Nonsense.  No toes were stepped on. You are family now and as family you are free to know these things.  This body is 84 years old and the child will be born tonight I would guess.” “But shouldn’t you go to a hospital. No offense, a woman your age having a baby is incredible, but complications make it far too dangerous to do here. Put down that drink and let me call an ambulance.” 

Finishing another mug Frigga relays, “You will do no such thing child.  All my sons were born at here.  This body knows its job and it has never failed.” Standing to go get another drink Frigga continued “Baldur said he had found the perfect wife, strong and independent, and I have to agree.   We are a powerful family and you are now a part of us” 

Before Frigga could fill her mug, Odin came back into the room “It's time my dear.  The food is on the table," and left the room as he had entered.   

Frigga said “Splendid, just splendid” Holding out her old hands, “Now child, help an old pregnant woman to dinner.  We have prepared a special meal for just this occasion.” Not knowing what to say, Astrid got up and helped Frigga down the stairs to the dining room. 

The dining room was breathtaking. The logs were stacked side by side and on end perpendicular to all the other logs she had seen so far.  On one wall was huge stone fireplace that held small trees burning at a temperature that would have made walking into the room unbearable were it not for a large opening in a sidewall.  The opening looked out upon the mountains and the valley below and the view was breathtaking. The four chandeliers were made from the bones of dozens of animals with each arm holding candles large enough to burn for days. From the wax collected under the chandeliers Astrid guessed that 100’s if not 1000’s of candles had lit this room.    A thirty-foot table was filled with an unbelievable variety of foods and the centerpiece of the table was a roasted goat sitting on a huge platter. 

As the women entered the room the men all stood up and toasted them “For the Mother'' and downed their full mugs.   Odin grabbed his wife and walked her to the head of the table taking a seat at her right hand. Baldur grabbed Astrid and did the same with her at the other end. 

Frigga stood and said, “By the gods, let us feast” and sat back down.  

Larry and Chris stood and served the feast.  Larry drew a pitcher from a huge barrel sitting in the corner and walked around the table filling all their mugs. Chris carved the meat in the middle of the table in a manner that more resembled ripping than cutting.  The two husbands went around the table collecting food for their wives.   

When the plates were set in front of the women, Astrid thought a 300-pound lumberjack would have a problem putting a dent in this thing.  She looked around for some utensils, but saw none save the large carving knife Chris had used to cut and rip the meat. Frigga on the other end of the table grabbed food off her pate and ate with complete loss of manners. 

With a mouth full of food Frigga yelled across the table to Astrid  “Eat and drink my dear.  I promise you will not eat another feast like this for a long time.” 

Astrid looked down at her plate and picked up a piece of cheese.  She took a bite and was enthralled by what she tasted.  Next, she grabbed a piece of the goat and again could not believe how good it was.  She washed it down with the mead and stopped. 

“What are these spices?  I’ve never tasted anything like these?”

Taking only a short break from stuffing food into her face Frigga responded “They’re herbs from a time long forgotten. Now eat” 

Astrid continued to eat. The meal was like no other she had ever had.  All the foods were exceptional. As if reading her mind Larry walked over and topped her off her mug.  Any gratitude she may have felt was lost in the moment she grabbed her mug. Mead, cheese, meat, mead, meat, vegetable, meat, mead, oblivion. 

During the feast Astrid lost all conscious thought and in oblivion she passed out from far too much drink.

Even as Astrid’s body began to slowly return to her control, her mind was instantly aware of itself.   Feeling both an extreme cold wind and unbelievable heat at the same time, she opened her eyes and tried to adjusted to the sight of a huge fire burning halfway between the low balcony she sat outside on and the mountain cliff over which a blizzard wind was blowing. 

As she tried to stand, she found herself tied to her chair by a rough hemp rope. Her fear was instantaneous and all consuming.   She screamed to be let up, but was ignored by four shadowy figures standing nearby. 

While looking around for any way to free herself, she noticed that the four hooded figures were standing in front of Frigga, who was laying on her back tied to a wood table.  Her mouth was uncovered so her screams could be heard if anyone was listening. 

The wind brought the chants of the men “For the mother, for the mother” again and again.

This mantra punctuated by Frigga screamed “Get it out. By the gods now it is the time my children. Now get it out.”  

One man walked between Frigga’s legs and another moved around to her head.  From where she was laid Astrid could see it was Odin between her legs, but could not tell who went to her head.  Astrid screamed “Untie me you assholes!”  The men ignored all she said. 

Odin raised his hand, and all went silent for a moment.  He spoke in a voice more powerful that she imagined this old man could produce. “It is the midwinter solstice and the time for a new mother has arrived.”

The other three men resumed chanting “For the mother”  and continued getting louder and louder as time went on.. Odin produced the large carving knife from under his clock. Passing it around, each son cut Frigga as the knife was passed to him.  Frigga screamed with every cut.  Stunned to silence, Astrid could only stare as this madness unfolded in front of her. 

As the knife returned to Odin, he spoke again and the other three men went silent.  “The midwinter solstice has come again and with a new mother chosen.  Her old body shall be renewed as all that is old shall become new again. May this child be acceptable to our goddess Frigga.  May many seasons pass in the new.  May we find a splendor by her hands.”  

The three sons each knelt and kissed their mothers weeping naked body.  As they stood each repeated “For the mother” 

Without warning Odin sliced Frigga open from her pelvis to just below the ribs opening her womb.  Frigga screamed in pain.  The son at her head took the knife still in her body and completed the cut from ribs to throat loudly breaking each one as he cut through it. Frigga was still crying out in pain as Odin took the daughter from her belly and the son took her heart from her chest. 

Two of the sons picked up the dead woman and walked into the pyre with it.  One moment they were there, the next all that was left were their screams of pain. Even if they had tried to escape the heat rendered that impossible. 

Odin, carrying the child, walked to the edge of the cliff. Standing there he raised the child in his old shaking hand and began speaking in a strange language, “At the dawn of a new millennium we speak. Dette vintersolverv var en spå fra mange måner siden. En død skal få nytt liv og hva var gammel skal bli ny igjen. Brenne den gamle og nye skal stige. Aske til aske, blod til blod, For mor.” As he finished speaking to the night, he lowered the child and kissed it. With a smile on his face he said, “I love you Frigga, now and always”.  Standing for just a moment more he stepped off the cliff with the infant into the oblivion.  The wind coming over the cliff stopped as suddenly as it had begun. 

Astrid could not see what had happened to Odin and the child from her vantage point.   The sudden stillness did nothing to allay her fears and with a soft voice she began to plead with the cloaked figure standing next to the sacrificial table.  Growing louder her pleas went unnoticed by the motionless man.  

After many long moments everything changed. A wind so powerful that it suffocated the blazing pyre flames and brought about a night only lit by the full moon.  It struck the cloaked man and knocked him back to Astrid ’s feet.  He was still… motionless and Astrid was able to finally confirm what she already knew; her husband had killed Frigga.  He had killed his own mother and he had left her tied to a chair to witness these horrors.  

Screaming at him and begging for answers he finally broke his trance.  Rising; with his mother’s heart still in his hand and the knife in the other; he turned and closed the distance between himself and his wife. Astrid was helpless to stop what came next.  Baldur took the still warm heart and forced it into her mouth, cutting off her cries.  With savagery she thought impossible from her sweet husband, he forced her mouth closed on the heart.  Her teeth severed off a chunk of the heart and held it in her mouth.  Her last rational thought was that, “That flavor.  It’s Figgas blood”.  

She greedily devoured it and pleaded for more from the man she loved.  He cut her free and dropped the knife.  She stood and took the once beating heart from his hand and said, “Jeg tar dette hjertet av min mor. Jeg lever av det. Jeg spiser det. Jeg skal bli det. Dette gjør jeg for mor.” before devouring it in ecstasy.  

A short time later the husband leaned over and picked up his sleeping bride. Carrying her inside he took her to the new moon bed.  As he stood watching her, she awoke with a smile on her face. Turning her head, she saw her husband and exclaimed “Odin my Odin. Oh, how I love The.” 

Her Husband smiled back at her and said, “Frigga, you are so beautiful. I love you Frigga, now and always. For the mother.” The End

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Ep.65 – The Last Taibon - Bloodsucking Vampires BEWARE!

Episode Notes

The Last Taibon by Rob Fields

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It’s dark, the middle of winter, and it’s a fucking blizzard. I’ve been walking along this highway for a while now, keeping tight hold of my Reebok Pump basketball shoes. I suppose I take great joy in knowing that I’m walking around in the elements half-naked and barefoot, and am actually quite comfy. Also, I’m fucking soaked from all the snow. I’ll have to take my clothes off and let them dry when I can find a place to take shelter. Not the first blizzard I’ve walked through, and it won’t be the last. It’s about an hour before I finally see the lights of what appears to be a tavern. I turn and walk across the snowy parking lot and past several covered cars. I’m sure there’ll be people inside waiting out the storm. But I’m wondering if a certain motherfucker named Richland Jillian will be inside. I open the door and walk in. Of course this fucking place is going to be filled with men. They all look at me, some gawking that I’m dressed like a slut, while others are probably wondering how long I’ve been out in the blizzard like this. And, no, I don’t see Richland Jillian in here. Might as well have a drink before I head back out. Not a single motherfucker in the place says anything to me as I make my way to the bar and sit on a stool. The bartender slowly approaches me. “Can I . . . help you?” I point to the bottle. “I’ll take that Fire Water – all of it.” He just looks at me. “All of it?” I dig into my tattered jean shorts and pull out some money. Then I slam it onto the bar. “Did I fucking stutter?!” The bartender takes my money and hands me the Fire Water. No asking me for an ID, which is how I like fucking it. After popping the spout off and draining the hot cinnamon liquor, I slam the bottle down and see the looks on everybody’s faces, especially the bartender’s. “You, um, want anything else?” he asks me. I point to the unopened bottle of Jim Beam. “All of it?” Slapping the bar gets that bottle put right in front of me. I open it up and this time enjoy my drink. So delicious . . . Then, one of those motherfuckers finally decides to approach me. I suppose I’m always asking for this kind of fucking shit since I’m a blonde who’s wearing tattered, short denim shorts and an athletic top that’s only good for covering my small titties. Like I said, I look like a total slut. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to wear normal clothes for a very long time. And now . . . I’m pissed when a guy who looks like he could eat me whole puts his hand on my shoulder. I neither hesitate nor look his way. “Hands off, motherfucker!” He clamps down on my shoulder now. “Quite a mouth on you, little girl. Little young to be in here, aintya?” I almost swing my bottle to shatter it on his head, but I stop and remember that it’s Jim Beam. I take hold of his wrist and make him scream in intense pain. Then I turn around and give him a kick that sends him flying across the bar and smashing into the jukebox. Oh well, country music sucks major dick, anyway. I turn around to see a few other so-called men bold enough to come at me. I have no problem picking one up and slamming him right through a table – one-handed. I grab the other one and throw him behind bar. He hits the back and falls forward. The rest of the motherfuckers quickly back away. I turn to the bartender and grab him to me. “Nearest town!” He gulps when he sees my red eyes and points in the direction. “Strickfield! Five miles!” I let him go. “Thank you.” I pick up my Jim Beam and my shoes and head back out into the blizzard. 

I’ve finished my Jim Beam by the time I cross into Strickfield. After dropping the bottle in a trash can, I walk around some more. Very few people are out in this blizzard. I do see a few cars on the streets, though. Then I see more bright lights and become excited. It’s a twenty-four-hour diner! Yeah, Denoyer’s Grill’s bound to have some good comfort food. I walk into the diner and get the same looks as the motherfuckers back at the bar. The college boy behind the counter gives me that look. I hold up my wet men’s basketball shoes for him to see. Then I drop them to the floor and slip into them. The guy smiles. “You can sit wherever’s open.” I park my sexy ass at the counter. Minutes later, I get my order. Wow! Now this is a fucking burger! I pick up the huge burger and take a bite. Sure wish I had more Jim Beam to wash it down. The Coke will be just fine. The counter boy keeps stealing peeks at me. Can’t really blame him. Some of the other patrons in here are staring at me with contempt. Fuck them! I ask the counter boy, “You don’t have any booze in here, do you?” He shakes his head slowly. “Unlimited soft drink refills is the best I got, Miss.” I slide my empty Coke glass to him. “Fine.” After I get my refill, I slip my shoes back off and relax some more. The counter guy is still looking at me. “You’re probably wondering what my fucking story is, right?” “Miss, please refrain from using profanity,” he asks me. “We’ve got other customers in here.” I smile a little. “Okay . . .” I look at his nametag. “. . . Martin. Since you asked nicely . . .” Also, this guy’s really cute, pretty easy going. I think I kind of like him. “What’s your name?” Martin asks. I flash him a sexy smile. “Bella.” Martin finally answers my question. “Okay, Bella . . . I guess you could say I’m curious, yes. I mean, it ain’t every day that I meet . . . well . . .” “A hot little devil like me?” I finish for him. “I get it. I know I’m not dressed for that blizzard outside – far from it. I’m cold and wet all over. But when you’re me, things like blizzards and summer heat don’t really bother you.” “Um, you’re not on any kind of drugs, are you?” Martin asks. I laugh a little. “I can drink all the booze I want and down a hundred ecstasy tablets. None of that affects me. Not when you’re not human.” Okay, fuckers! Here’s where you pay attention to what I’m about to tell you – and Martin, instead of wondering when I’m going to take my clothes off and fuck Martin’s brains out. As I’m sure you horror freaks already know, I’m not a normal girl. I mean, come on . . . a girl like me who looks about seventeen or eighteen doesn’t just throw around big men like they’re pillows. And I certainly wouldn’t be walking around nearly naked in a fucking blizzard, neither. I’m what you would call a Master Vampire. Or maybe . . . a derivative of one. My story begins around 1889. I came from Shore Village, which would years later become the huge megalopolis known as Shore City. I came from a family that was anything but normal. See, when you’re a Taibon, you’re forever fucked. Your life is tied to shit such as magic and the supernatural. You spend your whole fucking life training and fighting this shit. I actually started training under Gramps when I was about four. Every day it was the same fucking shit. Up in the morning . . . breakfast . . . training . . . lunch . . . more training . . . dinner . . . nightly hunting . . . sleep. I was already a trained killer by the age of six – and the bitch that I am now. In other words, innocence lost. Even then, I found I was always having to compete with my older brother, Nicholas. It was always a motherfucking rivalry between him and me. Nicholas was a good three years older than me. Still, he would prove to be a way better fighter than me. I’m not afraid to admit it. Still, he was always so sure of himself that he made it a point to prove it even to me. Probably why he always called me Runt. Still, I could be a pain in his ass, too. Gramps and Grams saw how vicious and clever I could be and called me Little Devil. Anyway, Gramps used our sibling rivalry to make us better fighters. Probably too well. I couldn’t tell you how many times Gramps had to break us up when we’d lose our shit and go at each other. Anyway, Nicholas got to be so good at what Gramps taught him, that he was actually good at killing Master Vampires. Master Vampires are quite powerful and are many times older than your average garden variety vampires. The older vampires get, the more powerful they become. I don’t mind telling you that Master Vampires are harder than fuck to destroy. Still, Nicholas actually surprised Gramps out in the field by taking one down – by himself. He understood the vampire weaknesses much better than anyone in our family. The fact that Nicholas liked to face Master Vampires by himself didn’t sit too well with Gramps. Even I voiced my concerns. Of course, Nicholas didn’t want to hear me and let me know about it on no uncertain terms. It was shit like that that made me just want to yank his dick off and choke him with it. So . . . Gramps started spending more time with me and working with me himself. Even though Nicholas continued to show his dominance out in the field, I had that gut feeling that he was asking for it. I mean, how long would his luck last? Remember that saying about how no matter how good you are, there’s always going to be someone else better than you? That someone was Thornton Jillian, who was the worst Master Vampire the Taibon family had ever faced. Jillian was thousands of years old and had slaughtered many of our family, including my own parents. The Taibons were renowned for taking down the supernatural, but Thornton Jillian would prove to be the deadliest motherfucker we’d ever faced. In fact, he was the reason why I’m the last Taibon. That fateful day came. Thornton Jillian attacked our property without warning. When Jillian subdued Gramps and me, Nicholas fought him and gave him one hell of a fight. It seemed that Nicholas was finally going to end him once and for all. The problem was that Nicholas got a little too overconfident. I knew that Jillian was someone you never let up on – even for a second. Jillian attacked Nicholas the moment he saw the opening. Just like that, he tore my brother’s throat right out. Nicholas still managed to cling on to life, until Jillian ripped his heart right out of his chest. Then he turned on Gramps and me. He slaughtered Gramps with a simple swipe of his claws across his throat. Then he turned on me. He hurt me pretty bad, but he refused to kill me. In fact, I had to watch helplessly as he killed Grams, too. He left me alive to remind me of how easy it was to decimate my entire family, even rubbing my face in it that I was the last Taibon. I could’ve just laid there and cried like I’d been raped. Thornton Jillian had greatly underestimated me. Through my injuries and pain, I forced myself to stand. I mean I was beyond pissed! All I could think about was how I was going to make that motherfucker wish he’d never been born. So, I worked through my pain until I was fully healed up, training myself harder than even Gramps had ever trained me. I studied Grams’ magic books and made some potions to use in my upcoming fight. I trained and retrained, perfecting my skills. I mean, I’d been at it for months. Finally, my patience was burned. It was either Thornton Jillian or me. I went out hunting for that motherfucker. I fought and destroyed one vampire right after another – anything to lead me to Thornton Jillian. I even met a Master Vampire bitch who hated Jillian as much as I did, but she swore she wouldn’t tell me where he was unless I let her take me to bed. Yeah, I was that fucking desperate to find Jillian. Her information paid off, and I finally caught up to him. I challenged Jillian to one final showdown. He just laughed at me and told me to go back home, saying I should find a husband to serve and make babies with. But when he learned that I’d all but destroyed his tribe, he knew he had to take me seriously. He promised me he’d kill me quickly. I was ready for the fucker and this time put up one hell of a fight. I wasn’t going to make the same mistakes Nicholas did in underestimating Thornton Jillian. Otherwise, the Taibon bloodline would be ended. I was the last one who stood between Jillian and his reign of terror. At one point, Jillian slashed me just below my tits and injured me. I was bleeding out fast. It was now or never! If I was dying and going to hell, I was taking this motherfucker with me. I threw the last of my potions at him, which only slowed him down. He grabbed me and told me he was going to make a new tribe – using my womb. But I had one last trick up my sleeve. I pulled one last vial of potion out of my long hair and threw it right in his face. I had to cover my own eyes as the liquid sunlight burned brightly . . . searing his flesh. He dropped me, giving me one last chance to strike. I kicked him backwards and into a tree. A branch, which worked as a thick stake, pierced his heart. This alone wouldn’t stop him, though. Not a Master Vampire! I needed to decapitate him too! As I pulled out my knife, I had forgotten about underestimating Jillian. He grabbed me and pulled me right onto the sake with him. He told me that I would be his wife in hell. Knowing I would die soon, I made my last attack on Jillian. He was going to find out why my grandparents called me Little Devil. I raised my knife and pressed it against his neck with all the strength I had left. I screamed like a fucking lunatic as I moved the knife like a saw and worked it through his neck, through the bone, and finally . . . the head fucking fell off! I slipped off the stake and fell onto my back. I was so badly hurt. I laughed as I relished my intense pain. I had finally done it! I had killed Thornton Jillian and avenged my family. Knowing that, I closed my eyes and prepared to meet up with Jillian in hell. I was only dimly aware of something dripping quickly onto my chest. 

When I woke up, it was morning. I felt . . . fucking fantastic! I sat up and saw that I was still wearing the tatters of my clothes. I saw I was completely healed up. Not even so much as a fucking scar! I growled with excitement and stood up to look at the headless corpse of Thornton Jillian again. “Fuck you!!” I screamed at it. Holy motherfucking shit! I just couldn’t help myself! I felt so! Incredibly! Powerful! The first thing I noticed was my arms and legs. I fucking had muscular definition. I mean, I really felt incredibly strong. I also realized that I could see much better than I ever had. What the fuck had happened to me? I pulled Jillian’s body off the tree and started a blazing fire that burned his remains until there was nothing but ashes. As I watched, I felt that my clothes were just too . . . constrictive! I tore my jacket away and ripped tatters off my shirt. I kicked my shoes away and tore the legs off my pants. Anything to feel free. Half-naked and moaning in satisfaction, I turned and walked away. I went back home and straight up to my bedroom to contemplate my next move. I was now the last Taibon. Everything was mine: the house, the greatly-vast family fortune, all of our tools against the supernatural . . . And then I screamed when I saw the full-length mirror beside my dresser. “What the fuck?! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” I shot right up off the bed and straight to the mirror. “No, this can’t be!” But it was! I had no reflection! No fucking wonder I felt so powerful! Did Thornton Jillian fucking sire me?! Suddenly, I realized something else! “It’s fucking daylight outside! How the fuck can I be a goddamn vampire?! HOW?!” I moved to the window again and threw open the curtains. The daylight washed over my body, but I wasn’t burning in any way. Then I opened the window and leapt out to the ground below, landing like a cat. I looked up at the bright sun. It actually felt wonderful. And then I felt the fangs growing in my mouth. I even turned my fingers into claws. “How the fuck can I be out in the daylight?! NO fucking vampire can exist during the daytime – not even Thornton Jillian!” I yelled to nobody. Then I remembered the drippings I had felt before I passed out. I remembered that I was in a lot of pain from my injuries. And I finally understood! “FUCK!!” I screamed at the sky. “WHY?!” What happened? Thornton Jillian’s fucking blood had dripped and poured from his open neck and into my chest wounds – into my heart. Jillian’s vampire blood had fucking mixed with my pure Taibon blood – tainting me. But . . . Jillian never drank from me. He never once tasted my blood. I remembered that clearly! Yet, a large quantity of his blood dripped and poured into my wounds and turned me. I couldn’t cast a reflection or a shadow anymore, I felt so very wild, I was incredibly strong, and I could be in the daylight. And then I realized I was no longer breathing. Even though I’d destroyed Thornton Jillian, he still had the last laugh. Or did he? I realized I could still feel my heartbeat. But vampires don’t have heartbeats! What the fuck kind of a vampire was I?! Through the many years that passed between then and now, I found that I would never age a single day. I would be seventeen forever. Ah, but you would think that I’d have to drink human blood in order to keep my youth and beauty, right? Nope! In fact, as soon as I felt my stomach screaming at me, I tried using my new fangs to drink from a murderer I found in an alleyway. One bite and two swallows later, I quickly shoved the fucker away and puked my guts up. The only thing that took that fucking awful taste out of my mouth was several roast chickens from a nearby inn’s open flame. I used to eat like a bird, but now I have one hell of a monstrous fucking appetite. Over the years, I toured the world and found masters who could teach me in more ways to fight. One of them even taught me ways to reign in my libido, which also grew – much like my fucking appetite. Yeah, Thornton Jillian really changed my life, didn’t he? However, I am still a Taibon. My family’s mission has not – will never – change. I still hunt creatures of the night who would prey on innocent people. Taking down monsters, witches, and other vampires is so fucking easy now since I’m way stronger and far more powerful than they are. Having Thornton Jillian’s blood mixed with my own made me an instant Master Vampire. I guess I still have to answer that big question: Is this the ultimate fuck you to him . . . or for me? Speaking of hunting supernatural scum, let’s get back to the present day. While telling my story to Martin behind the counter at Denoyer’s, I managed to wolf down five half-pound cheeseburger platters, complete with fries, lots of Coke refills, and even two whole strawberry-rhubarb pies. Oh, and one large order of onion rings. Both Martin and Denoyer himself watched skinny little me put all that food away. I think Denoyer was wondering if I was going to be able to pay for everything. Not only did I pay for everything, I even gave Martin a very generous tip. And then I turn to see the motherfucker who was sitting by the door leaving. I get up to follow him. “Hey, you left your shoes on the floor!” Martin calls out to me. I glance over my shoulder. “I’ll be back for them.” I give him my sexy smile again. “And you.” I head back out into the blizzard. Sure enough, the motherfucker’s waiting for me. “You really didn’t think I’d fucking find you, Jillian? Please . . .” Richland Jillian is the younger brother of Thornton. Not quite a Master Vampire himself just yet, but he’s getting up there. “Will you never relent, Taibon?” Richland yells. I raise my hands, which are now claws. I even put my vampire face on. “Suck my dick!” Then I howl a battle cry and leap right at him. It’s too fucking snowy for the people inside Denoyer’s to see the two of us fight it out. Richland Jillian has been dodging and evading me for a good year now. Every fucking time I’d catch up to him, he’d always use my need to save innocents to get away. He loves to call it my greatest weakness. But no . . . I’m a Taibon and that’s what Taibons do. But I’ve finally got this motherfucker right where I want him. Richland is quite strong. He’s definitely a bigger man than what his brother Thornton was, though nowhere near as powerful. Remember, Thornton was a Master Vampire. Richland claws me, but I have one hell of a healing factor. When Richland realizes he can’t possibly win, he tries to escape. “Nope! Don’t even think it!” I tell him. “NO innocents for you to throw in front of me this time!” He roars one last roar as he tries to slash my throat with his claws. But I see it coming a mile away. I snatch his wrist and punch him right in the chest – enough for me to break through his chest cavity and seize his heart. Then I pull it out and pulp the thing right in my hands. The body falls over, and that’s all she wrote. Just to make sure, however, I glare at the body and make it burst into flames. I’ve never been able to figure out how to change form, if I can even do that. I can, however, create fog or mist, command animals and insects, and even make fire appear. When Richland Jillian is finally ashes and blowing away in the blizzard, I morph my face and hands back into human again. I move to the lake across the road from Denoyer’s and wash the blood off my arms and hands. When I’m finished, I turn and head back to Denoyer’s. I do have to reclaim my shoes . . . and a certain counter guy. When I come back in, I see some nerdy librarian bitch talking to Martin. They both turn to look at me. “Hey, you came back!” Martin exclaims. “Am I interrupting something here?” I ask. Martin shakes his head. “Not at all. I’m about done here, and my little sister came by to get me. This is Einstein. Her real name is Eileen.” I look at the librarian. “Ah, little sister. Of course you are . . .” “Wow! Were you really hanging around outside dressed like that?” Einstein asks in amazement. “Still a free country, right?” I reply. Then Denoyer calls out from behind the counter, “Martin! Sheila’s here now. She’ll relieve you shortly. Get home safely.” Martin smiles and looks at me. “Still want to come home with me?” I give him my sexiest smile again. 

Martin’s sound asleep as I slip out of bed and put my tatters back on. I pick up my shoes and quietly slip out of the bedroom. Martin definitely satisfied me. Now it’s time to get the fuck out of Strickfield and move on to another town . . . another adventure . . . another malevolent motherfucker to destroy . . . “Now you weren’t thinking of just leaving my brother, were you, Bella?” a familiar voice calls out to me as I reach the front door. The lights turn on, revealing the librarian, Martin’s little sister, Eileen Donnerly – Einstein. “What the fuck were you doing, waiting up for me?” I snap. “I needed to get laid. I liked your brother. We both got what we wanted. No commitments. I’m gone.” Einstein gets right to the point. “My brother doesn’t just take anyone to bed. You must have been really special to him. I’m not going to let you hurt him like that.” I roll my eyes. “What do you want from me, Einstein, to wear his fucking ring?” Einstein folds her arms in front of her. “I want for you to stop running and settle down here. I want for you to be good for Martin.” She raises her eyelid. “I think we could even be great friends, you and me.” I laugh now. “What motherfucking planet are you from? I don’t live in Strickfield. I don’t even fucking belong here. I don’t belong . . . anywhere really.” “You’re a vampire, right?” Wow! Subtle, ain’t she? Before I can ask how she knows, she points to a nearby mirror. “Okay . . . So?” I roll my eyes again. “I didn’t kill Martin, okay? I don’t even drink blood. Nasty fucking shit!” “Oh, I know you didn’t,” Einstein says. “But . . . my big brother’s really into you. You’re staying, Bella. And on Monday morning . . . you’re coming to school with me.” Before I can tell her to go fuck herself, she quickly unfolds her arms and raises her finger. “You walk in the daylight, right? So it’s settled. You’re coming to school with me on Monday.” She laughs a little. Now it’s my turn to fold my arms in front of me. “What makes you so goddamn sure that I’m coming to school with you?” I drop my arms. “Please, Einny, fucking enlighten me here . . .” She gives me a cute little smile. No, not the kind that says she’s got me right where she wants me. It’s the kind of cute little smile that belongs to a cute little face like hers. “Because . . . I believe the girls who are on the cheerleading squad at Strickfield High School . . . are also vampires. Maybe they’re not like you, but they are vampires. Possibly all six of them.” I raise my finger. “Let me stop you right there, Einny! As far as I know, I’m the only one who can walk in the daylight. How the fuck can these so-called vampire twats walk the halls and attend classes? Hello! Sunlight comes in through pretty much every fucking classroom window at a school.” Einstein shakes her head. “Oh, I don’t believe they’re like you, Bella. But they must be doing something to be able to walk around during the daylight. And I don’t think they’re wearing sunblock.” I nod in agreement. “There are very few ways vamps can move around during the daylight, but nothing they can do on their own. They need . . . outsides sources, if you will. And damn sure not fucking sunblock.” And . . . Einstein fucking smiles. The little bitch knows she’s got my attention now. “I’ll give you some of my clothes and shoes. I think we’re the same size.” I glare at her now. “If you’re fucking lying to me about this, Einny, I’m going to take you and offer you as a free meal to other vamps.” But . . . I can tell she’s not lying. I just don’t want to stay here in this fucking village is all. “Fine, I’ll go to school with you on Monday morning. Fuck!” Einstein smiles. “That means you’re also spending the rest of the weekend with us. Guess you’d better head back upstairs, then . . . Bells. Good night . . .” I give her a dirty look and raise my middle finger before I turn and head back upstairs. Martin’s awake when I enter his room again. Yeah, he knows I was about to leave him sad and lonely. I need to fix this – fast. I get naked again, climb back into bed, and we screw some more. Might as well occupy my time since I don’t really sleep, and Monday is several hours away yet.

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Ep.64 – Satan's Shotgun - Death Won't Stop His Gory Vengeance!

Mayhem is everyone on this splattery New Year's Eve!

Episode Notes

On New Year's Eve 1899 the ball isn't dropping but bodies are falling all around! A bloody vengeance that spams over lifetimes is about to conclude! Shotguns and rifles are nice, but an undying revenge can't be stopped!

Satan's Shotgun by Daniel Wilder

Buy the new "Babysitter Massacre" book! https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08P4ZF9LG/

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Produced by Daniel Wilder

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I had me a revelation come New Year’s Eve of 1899… Jesus weren't nothin’. 

I reckon I could resurrect myself like a right heavyweight champion… long as my boy’s bones held out that is… but admittedly I couldn’t hold a candle to that water to rotgut routine, and I sure as fuck couldn’t walk on water, and there sure as shit aren’t any virgins in my vicinity… I guess I truly meant that coming back from the dead wasn’t any great shakes.

What brought me to that bit o’ revelation were the events of nearly 12 years prior… 1887 if you can cipher… the night Gideon Pharoh’s Nightmare Zodiac Death Gang came a-knockin’… and that’s exactly as those hocus-pocus braggarts billed themselves too; Nightmare Zodiac Death Gang… should have spent more time practicing with pistols than coming up with candy-ass gang titles, but I digress…

Ya see, I was a simple man then… farming… maybe a bit of trapping, not to mention interpreting for the local tribes and those they cottoned to trade with. It wasn’t the high life, but it was good enough for me, ‘Lizbeth, and our boy… Lazarus.

That name was a bit of on the nose serendipity that the fates served up to us by the by, let me tell ya true… and I sure as hell wasn’t amused.

T’weren’t eighteen months after our boy’s birth that that sack-headed side-winder Gideon and his posse arrived on our doorstep and ended his life… and his momma’s… but as was their folly, they never checked if my heart had stopped… and to be fair I never asked them why they were so sore with me and mine, so yeah, mistakes were made all ‘round on that day.

So, once their devilish deeds were done, they headed off into the still night with nary a thought of the hell they had born that day… and still my heart continued to beat… like a native drum… a doom dirge banging away to attract any midnight mother fucker within six hundred and sixty-six yards… and attract it surely did.

The shaman entered what remained of our home casual as can be… the fully bandaged man he lead on a leash followed seemingly devoid of thought as well as grace.

He slinked his way over to me like a mongoose, all sinew and glide… the bones around his waist clanking together like the gnashing teeth of some desert devil risen from an unholy hell ready to feast.

As my eyes strained to focus, I saw that bastard light a fire of green flame… a flame he used to rend the prone form of my boy to ashes and bone in as much time as it takes to tell.

I admit the darkness took me then as I was a powerful sight weaker in constitution than I am now… though I have a dread vision of that bandaged fella placing a lip-less mouth o’er my own and blowing a dust that reeked to high hell of rot deep into my lungs that made them feel as it they were filled with the fires of ol’ Scratch himself!

I came too walking along a trail deep in the nearby Adirondacks, a foul scented wrapping from the shaman’s… friend… tied tightly around my eyes. While you may get to thinking that would seriously impede my journey, the exact opposite held true… I could sense where I was going, and just where the first of those I sought were hunkered down.

So onward I trekked; my boy’s bones rattling in the leather sack strapped to my left shoulder. 

That same rattle let any man or beast in my path know that I surely was not to be fucked with as I began my stride along revenge’s rough road.

I walked those wicked woods until the sun fell low, and the sky was streaked in hues of lavender and rose… and it was then I came upon the cabin on New Year’s Eve, painted as it were in two differing colors… sky blue and soft pink… the abode of Gemini, two doses of poison in one pill.

The smoke that poured from the chimney let me know those that needed correcting were home sweet home.

I didn’t stand on formality…

The door exploded inward from the impact of my left shit-kicker, splinters spreading out like buckshot acting as my callin’ card.  

It took me a fraction of a second to realize no one was visible in the room, magic eyewear or no… but I could smell them just fine.

Naturally, they didn’t surprise me none when the exploded from the shadows of the cabin’s ceiling… however the fact they could move together like a great spider in their conjoined state definitely raised an eyebrow.

I unloaded my rifle with a thunderous roar. The shot tore a nice chunk in whatever the lady side of this thing was called, but she wasn’t going down by a long shot. 

Before I knew it, the male side of the equation had maneuvered himself in such a way that he both knocked me to the ground, and managed to wrap the fleshy band that kept these two eternally bound around my neck. 

That same bit of flesh began flexing and throbbing until I couldn’t draw a breath, the various veins and sinew contained under that warm sleeve pulsing like a bag of snakes.

Things began swirling and growing ever darker… that’s when I died for the first time.

The shaman appeared shortly thereafter though my enemies never noticed, although if they did I wager they’d have been confused as all get out. See, that fella simply strolled in, leaned low, and whispered in my ear. 

“Use a bone?”

I didn’t quite gather what he was on about, but it seemed like a question I should answer in the affirmative. 

He reached into my rucksack, pulled out one of the twelve bones of my boy that clattered inside and shoved that rune covered ivory femur right in my mouth.

It dissolved on contact with my tongue, and I was back in business.

I sat up, puked, and roared at my killers who had now sat down to a nice warm meal after their deed was done.

What I did next would become a bit of a legend. 

See, I grabbed the steak knife out of the hand of the twin closest to me… who honestly didn’t even resist… probably the shock of a corpse interrupting his din-din.

Anyway, I took that blade and commenced to slice that ribbon that held them together like a rabid wolf. But then I had a pang of conscious… these two have been together since day one, so it would be a shame to take that away from them.

Fortunately, I learned to sew at a tender age.

I can only imagine the look on Gideon’s face when he saw one… or two… not sure how they counted themselves… anyway, saw a member of his posse fixed mouth to crotch of their opposite number like those Yin-Yang symbols the Chinese fellas out west were so fond of. 

And “imagine” it would have to be as once my work was done I sunk into the Earth outside the Gemini’s doorstep and there I slept for a full year.

And so it went; at the very end of each and every year I’d rise up and put a murder on one of those psychos.

Pieces… hard to breathe with concrete in your gills.

Taurus… let’s just say he wasn’t just a bull from the shoulders up, but that would be his undoing when I rammed that tally-whacker straight down his throat. 

Aries, Leo, Cancer, Sagittarius, Virgo, Libra, Capricorn, Aquarius… dead, dead, dead, dead, dead, dead, dead, and double dead… don’t ask.

Year after year I fought, and year after year I lost a little bit more of my boy, piece by piece.

Finally I came to Scorpio, and if you think the other menagerie made for a one-of-a-kind corpse gallery I can assure you all that the final member of that gang… minus their ringmaster, but I’ll get to his arcane ass in a tick.

See, after the decade and change of carnival exhibits I’d tussled with I wouldn’t blame ya none if you wagered Scorpio would be some kind of insect man, but it wasn’t, hell it wasn’t even a man.

As you could guess from the hiring of those darling siblings I jawed about earlier, Gideon didn’t give a single shit if those that worked for him were men or women… a real rarity as far as evil posses went in the late 1800’s… course half those mother fuckers would be a right challenge to even classify as human.

When I sauntered up to that gypsy wagon lady Scorpio called home I could just tell I was in for a hell of a time.

The scent of burning herbs filled the air, and the roaring flame burning brightly beside the gaudy wagon was doing a solid job of roasting a large pheasant.

I hunkered down by the fire… it always feels good to warm my hands after pointing my boots towards the sky for twelve months.

The lavender and crimson curtains that covered the entrance to the wagon parted and she appeared. A raven haired beauty with eyes as cruel and cold then a whole nest of vipers could possess. 

“I told Gideon doing your wife and boy was a grave mistake.”

“Well, it’s a mistake that will surely put you in your grave, Missy.”

She laughed, and I had to admit it was an unbelievably delicate thing.

“If that is to be my fate there is little I can do to change it.”

I spit at her feet. “Yup.”

“Won’t you come inside a moment?”

“It’s your funeral, you can have it any way you want.” I entered the wagon, and beheld the interior which contained nothing save for an opulent bed. I sat down and waited for the show to start.

She slid into the bed beside me, pushed me down, and started to rub up against me all feline like. I grabbed her hair, tugged it hard and whispered the most romantic thing I could think of into her ear… 

“This is for ‘Lizbeth!”

I drove the blade of the hunting knife through the back of her head before she could even realize I had pulled it from my left boot. 

She made that weird gargle whistling exhale thing that you never really get used to and then the light in those big brown eyes went dim.

“Should have started with this one.”

I managed to remove my knife from her skull and kick her ass right out of the wagon in a near seamless movement. 

I heard her hit the ground and then… 


Her skin flew through the curtains and collided with the far wall of the wagon with a sickening sound akin to pig innards being thrown at a whore-house.

“Ah, here we go… “ I said as the giant scorpion “clickety-clacked” through the entryway. The odd thing about this here scorpion had a great set of breasts and a tail equipped with rather ornery lookin’ cock where that poisonous sting should of rested.

“I’m going to fuck you one way or another, lover!” the beast spat from a mouth full of spear-like teeth and bad intentions.

“Get in line sister.”

I drew my iron and unloaded on that nightmare with barrel a-blazin!

That damn tail whipped at me again and again as Scorpio’s face looked like a vat of prize-winning chili… and to my horror the loads that appendage shot were some sort of acid. While the walls of the wagon began to dissolve the bitch stopped her bucking.

Well fuck me silly, I didn’t die this go around. I wonder if I’ll still take a dirt nap?

“Yup.” I said as I folded into the cold earth.

For the first time in years I dreamed.

I saw my family… the unspeakable terror life had become… the soul-crushing scream into the abyss I’d make year after year as I was reborn to put down one monster after another… and I saw that burlap headed bastard that had made this all so.

And I saw children… unfamiliar children with their faces tinted a glowing blue the exact hue of which I’d never seen the like of before.

Guess what day it is?

That’s right, the day I end the life of that masked son of a bitch and finally rest in peace. That’s the theory anyway.

The morning of New Year’s Eve of 1899 I had that “Jesus” thought I mentioned at the start of this yarn… and I found my self wandering the streets of ol’ Manhattan Town, beastly bandages in place.

Everything was cold gray… until I got that unholy vision that Gideon was well and truly a man about town… though he wore a false human face over his rough mask.

I followed him around a pace, but he seemed to make stops at random, and although he made no indication that he knew I was there, but I knew damn well he did.

Finally he got the drop on me after a rather well-executed disappearing act in the Bowery.

“Let’s retire to my residence and talk this through, eh dead-man?” he purred.

“Yup” I answered.

We entered the luxurious townhouse Gideon called home.

“Please, relax.” Gideon said, gesturing to an array of sofas and chairs that festooned his abode.

I took a load off on a nearby Persian rug… that furniture was doubtless cursed and would spell my doom if I dare put my ass upon it.

“Are you a gambling man?” he asked.

“Not by nature, no.”

“I am. And if I had to play my hand, I would wager you want to know why I chose you and your kin to slaughter.”

“The thought had crossed my mind a time or two if I am to be honest.” I answered true.

“I had heard that if you do someone a cosmic level injustice… like a random killing for instance… then powerful magic is revealed to those willing to travel a dark path.”

“You heard rightly.”

He gestured toward my rucksack. “The magic?”

“My son.”

“Your son became the rarest of magics? You should be kissing my feet for this gift.”

“I see it a tad different.”

“I wager you do. Nevertheless, my theory was correct.” “Nevertheless you should have listened to your pet bug.”

“Scorpio? She was always the most in-tune of my menagerie… “

Was is the operative word.”

“I care little that you killed any of those sideshow attractions.”

“You’re all heart.”

“No, I’m all business.”

“How so?” I queried. 

“Let’s say you give me the last bone in your sack, and I let you walk out of here and live a long and happy life.”

“Let’s say I do… what does that give me? An eternity without those I love… those you took from me.”

“True, but a life is a life.”

I thought on this a spell… and I had me a revelation, hold on… you’ll see.

“Fine, you want the bone, here it is.”

I removed my son’s skull from the sack and held it up for that snake to see.

“Glorious… please, let me hold it!”

The shaman spoke into my ear for the last time. I nodded.

I tossed my boy’s skull to Gideon… and as that bone grew ever closer, I drew my pistol and fired!

The skull exploded when the bullet hit the bone.

The shaman laughed.

His Egyptian pal laughed.

I laughed.

Gideon however, did most assuredly not laugh.

The shards of the skull became as unto missiles and pierced Gideon’s mask in a hundred razor-sharp volleys.

He did that gargle thing and fell like a sack of potatoes.

“That’s that then.” I said.

I waited for some sort of cosmic redemption… would I stand before my family once more? Would I finally be able to rest?

A glowing letter “A” appeared in the sky.

A glowing “S” followed.

And another “S”

“Ass… real cute.” I thought as I finally succumbed to the darkness.


Brent laughed.

“ASS… classic.”

“Yeah man… this game is so easy if you have enough quarters.” Todd said. “I’ve beaten it like a hundred times.”

The duo walked away from the cabinet as the attract screen of Satan’s Shotgun called out to the next player… and ‘Lizbeth and Lazarus died anew.

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Ep.63 – Satan Claus - Revenge is his Gift and it isn't Free!

Episode Notes

On Christmas Eve a brother and sister decide to invoke the urban legend of "Satan Claus" to get revenge on their rotten stepfather. Will the fabled bloodthirsty monster come to their aid or is the true horror what awaits them living in their own home?

Satan Claus by Keith Tomlin

Music by Ray Mattis http://raymattispresents.bandcamp.com

Produced by Daniel Wilder

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December 25, 1998, 1:45 am. Edward burst out of the backdoor of his house.  His foot missed the second step of the concrete stairs and he went sprawling, landing hard on the neglected wooden deck of his back patio. Gasping for breath, he struggled to his feet, losing one of his slippers.  After a few tries, he regained his balance and raced off into the woods that edged his backyard.  Burrs and thorns tore at his skin and clothing as he plunged into the darkness. As Edward ran, he heard a loud crash as something large and powerful followed after him.  An unearthly roar, filled with hate and rage, rang through the night.  Edward pushed himself harder, charging faster into the forest. After a few minutes of running in a blind panic, Edward felt a sharp pain run from his chest and down his arm.  He gasped and dropped at the base of a large elm tree.  Sobbing, he worked himself into a sitting position, trying to breathe through the pain.  He wiped blood from his face, some his, some from his wife. Hearing a branch breaking, Edward tried to push himself up but the pain in his chest nearly caused him to blackout.  Fighting unconsciousness, he felt hot breath on his face as he fought to open his eyes.  When he did, Edward saw yellow, bloodshot eyes staring into his as the creature snorted, sending its moist, rancid breath into his face.  It let out a blood-curdling scream as it reached for him with long arms ending in razor-sharp claws. As the creature tore Edward apart, his last thought was not of the intense pain or the realization that his life was over, it was a question. ‘Is that thing wearing a Santa hat?’ Edward thought as he passed into darkness. 

December 24, 1999, 11:15 am. Emily looked incredulously at her 13-year-old brother, Tyler.  “Satan Claus?  Are you fuckin’ serious?” she said. “Well, yeah… I mean… It’s real, well, not real but they think it’s real.” Tyler said, trying to gather his thoughts. “So, we’re going to summon a pretend demon dressed like Santa Claus to take care of our stepfather?” Emily said with scorn. “Well, sorta.” Tyler sighed, taking a deep breath and slowly letting it out. “Ok, so… take the legend of Bloody Mary.  The story goes that if you look in the mirror and say her name three times, she will appear and start killing people.  Now, everyone knows that’s not real.  If you’re having a sleepover with friends and they dare you to look in the mirror and say her name, you will.  You know it’s not true and nothing will happen.  But,” he said excitedly, “If it’s night and you’re alone in the house and you’re standing in front of a mirror when the thought crosses your mind to say her name three times, will do you it?” Without waiting for an answer, Tyler went on, “No, you would not.  And why not?  The logical part of your mind will say, ‘surely, it’s not real, it’s just crazy talk’ but, on a primal level, you know that if you say her name three times, she may appear.  This belief is what gives these creatures their power.” Tyler paused, slightly out of breath. “You are one weird kid,” Emily said. “Yeah, well, you know… growing up in this house does tend to make one unusual,” Tyler replied, solemnly. Emily shook her head, “Ok, I’m still confused, what creatures are you talking about?” Tyler looked Emily in the eyes, something he rarely did with anyone, “To be honest, I don’t know.  I just know they exist.  Throughout history, different cultures had legends of horrific creatures that terrorized the common folk.  I think that these were all some kind of a supernatural force that draws power from the beliefs and fears of the people.  If enough people believe in them, then these ghosts, demons, or whatever, can draw strength and life from these beliefs and they will actually become these creatures.” “Wow, I…  I think this is insane.” said Emily, speechless. “I know and I accept that but I need your help.  For you, this is a win-win.  If you help and it works, we will be rid of that asshole forever.”  Tyler looked at Emily, who nodded emphatically. “If it doesn’t work, then you have something else to make fun of me for, not that there is any lack of material for that.” Tyler said, pointing to the piles of role-playing manuals and superhero comic books stacked up around his bedroom. Not for the first time, Emily was amazed at how smart her brother was, naïve and childlike but also so goddamn smart.  She had sworn to herself to do whatever she had to do to make sure that he reaches adulthood without life crushing his soul.  She was only a year older than him but she was a survivor.  She could take all of the pain and suffering that life, and her stepfather, could dish out.  Tyler, however, was a fragile soul.  If this helped him deal with all the bullshit then she was willing to go along with it. “Fuck it, I’m in,” she said, “consider it your Christmas present.” “Well, uh… really?” Tyler said, clearly expecting more resistance. Emily continued, “Look, this is the most batshit crazy thing I’ve ever heard but, you’re my brother, and I’ll do anything to support you.  So…. Satan Claus?” Tyler took a few seconds to blink some tears away.  “Ok, so…  Satan Claus is an urban legend that has been around for at least 15 years.  Basically, it’s a story of a department store Santa that was beaten to death by a gang of kids and his wife got her revenge by baking cookies with her blood.  She tricked the kids into eating them, which caused her husband to come back from the dead and kill everyone.” Tyler finally paused to take a breath.  “At least nine times in the last seven years, there have been a series of gruesome deaths on Christmas eve so brutal that the police have suspected it was either the work of a satanic cult or some kind of huge, unidentified wild creature.  I disagree, I think it was the legend of Satan Claus that killed them and that’s what I want for dear old Frank.” Tyler said, referring to their stepfather. “He deserves to die,” Emily said in a cold, hard voice, “For what he has done to mom, you, and what he has tried to do to….”  Emily trailed off. Tyler awkwardly reached out and patted her hand.  “I know, he will pay for all of it.” “So, all we need to do is get Frank to eat some cookies?” Emily asked. Tyler nodded. “What do you need from me?” Emily finally asked.

December 25, 1999, 12:36 am Emily rubbed the Band-Aid covering her finger, thinking that only her brother could talk her into using her blood as an ingredient in a cookie recipe.  If she had to be honest, she enjoyed cutting her finger more than baking the cookies.  The first batch ended up a burned, smoking mess and she had to mix up, and recut, a second batch.  She shook her head, thinking about the things that people do for family. Emily looked down at her brother, asleep on the couch next to her, and sighed.  She loved that crazy little bastard.  She turned back towards the large picture window to keep up her vigil on the dark street outside. After a minute or so, the lights from an approaching car lit up the neighboring houses.  Emily leaned further over the back of the couch, face pressed against the window, to get a better look.  When a familiar car pulled into the driveway of the house across the street, Emily grabbed her brother and shook him awake. “Tyler!  Frank just pulled in our driveway.” Emily whispered loudly. Tyler sat up, rubbing his eyes.  Looking around, he asked, “Where is Mrs. Patterson?” “Mrs. Patterson is in bed, it’s past midnight.” Emily said.  Mrs. Patterson was an elderly woman who lived across the street from them and, understanding their volatile family situation, often let the kids spend the night at her house while their mom was working the graveyard shift at the nursing home. “Grab the binoculars and keep your voice down.” Emily commanded. Tyler’s eyes popped open as he suddenly remembered what they had planned for Frank.  He grabbed his cheap pair of binoculars from the coffee table and joined his sister, leaning over the back of the couch.

Frank pulled into the snow-covered driveway, his ragged old Ford sliding to a stop, almost hitting the garage door.  He opened the car door and stumbled out. Frank was a tall, lean man, what some may call wiry.  He had a face that used to be quite handsome and may still be to some, hidden under the years of hard living and even harder drinking.  Frank lived to drink and spent most evenings complaining about his miserable life to the regulars at Whitey’s Tavern, a dive bar a few blocks from his house.  He would usually come home shitfaced; tonight, however, he was well beyond that.  One of the bar patrons, a well-to-do businessman that liked to flaunt his success, kept buying drinks for the house.  Frank kept drinking and he kept getting angrier.  

Frank’s past kept rolling around in his head.  Why has his life turned out like shit?  Why is everyone against him?  Why did that bitch of an ex-wife keep hounding him for money to buy gifts for a bunch of ungrateful little shits?  Why did his current wife keep picking up extra shifts when she should be home taking care of him?  Why do her fucking brats show him no respect, in his own goddamn house!? Frank shut the car door and made his way up the icy walkway to the front of the house.  Swaying, he opened up the front door and walked inside. “Hey!  Anyone here?” Frank bellowed, slamming the front door.  “Where the fuck is my dinner!”  Frank listened to the sounds of an empty house as he remembered that his bitch wife was working tonight.  Frank mumbled curses under his breath as he walked across the small living room to the kitchen.  Seeing a pizza box on the counter, he opened it up and grabbed a slice.  Chewing on the cold pizza, he walked over to the fridge and grabbed a beer.  He was walking back to the living room when he noticed a plate of cookies with a note under it.  Squinting, he picked up the note and read it. “Frank, I know we have not gotten along but, for mom’s sake, I want to try to fix that.  Please accept these cookies as a peace offering.  Merry Christmas, Emily.” the note said. Frank picked up the plate with the cookies and turned back to the living room.  He paused at the end of the counter and dropped the cookies, plate and all, into the trashcan. 

Tyler reached out and grabbed Emily’s arm. “He picked up the cookies!” he said excitedly, looking through the binoculars.  “He’s walking… wait, oh no.  He threw them away.”  Tyler said quietly as silent tears began to roll down his face. “Give me those.” Emily said as she grabbed up the binoculars.  She brought them up to her face and pointed them at the run-down house across the street.  Because a particularly violent outburst from Frank last week resulted in the curtain rods being ripped down, she had a good view of the living and most of the kitchen.  Emily focused on Frank, sitting in an armchair, drinking a beer, and watching TV. Emily sighed, lowering the binoculars, “Damn.  Oh well, we tried.”  She turned to her brother and her heart broke when she looked upon his face, wet with tears.   “Hey, don’t worry, we’ll get through this.”  Emily reached out and hugged Tyler, who began to sob louder. “Ok. It’ll be ok.” Emily leaned back and looked Tyler in the eyes. “You know that this wasn’t going to actually work, don’t you?” Tyler shrugged, wiping at the wetness on his cheek. Emily sighed, “Ok, fine, I still owe you a Christmas present.   I’ll go over there and try to get the asshat to eat a blood cookie.  Even if some creature doesn’t rip him a new asshole, it would be fun just watching that.” Tyler hugged her tightly.  For a few seconds, Emily hugged him back.  She then stood up and looked at Tyler.  “You stay here, I’ll be back in a few minutes.”  Walking away, Emily thought once again, ‘The things you do for family.’

Emily stood on the front stoop of her house, shivering in her thin jacket.  She took a few deep breaths, trying to buildup her courage. ‘Damn it, why did I agree to do this?’ Emily thought.  Exhaling, she turned the doorknob and walked inside. “Oh, hi Frank”, she said as she shut the door. “Where the fuck have you been?” Frank said, without taking his eyes off of the TV set. “Oh, I’m staying at a friend's house.  I just stopped by to pick up something I forgot.” Emily answered. “Where’s your retarded brother?” Frank said, still watching TV. Emily ignored the insult, “He’s staying with them too.  Mom knows.” “Your mom doesn’t tell me shit.  I never know what the fuck is going on in my own house.” Frank said raising his voice. “Oh, I figured she would.” Emily said. A silence fell over them, only broken by the muted sound of the television. “Uh, did you see the cookies I baked you?” Emily asked, hesitantly. Frank tossed an empty bottle across the room.  It landed on the bare wooden floor and rolled to a stop next to a table lamp. “Get me another beer.” Frank said. Emily stood still for a few seconds, trying to keep her temper in check.  She then walked to the fridge and grabbed a beer from a half-full six-pack.  She paused and grabbed a cookie out of the trashcan before moving to the living room. “Here’s your beer.” Emily said, trying to sound cheerful.  She sat a beer on the end table next to Frank’s prized recliner.   “Also, here is one of the cookies I made for you.” She said, sitting a cookie down next to the bottle of beer. Frank’s arm shot out and grabbed her by the arm.  He began moving his index finger, lightly tracing circles on the inside of her wrist. He looked up at her, sneering. Emily pulled out of his grip.  She glared at Frank, struggling to hold her temper.  “Look, I am trying to be nice.  I made you some cookies as a peace offering, the least you could do is to try one.” Emily said through gritted teeth. Frank opened the beer and took a long pull from it.  He slammed it down on the end table, smashing the cookie. “If you want to be nice to me,” he said sarcastically, “you can make me a sandwich.” After a few moments, Frank looked over and noticed that she was still standing there, staring daggers at him. “Look, women are only good at two things,” he said, “cookin’ and fuckin’.  It’s your choice.” Balling her hands into fists, Emily turned and walked back to the kitchen.  After taking a moment to calm herself down, she opened up the fridge and grabbed some bologna and a jar of mayonnaise. Hearing the fridge door open, Frank yelled, “Get me another beer, too.” Emily ignored him and grabbed a butter knife from the utensil drawer.  She slapped the bologna on a piece of bread and smeared a generous portion of mayo on top.  Reaching back into the trashcan, she grabbed another cookie.  She rolled the jar of mayonnaise over the cookie, reducing it to crumbs.  Scooping up the crumbs, she tossed them on the sandwich and smashed the second piece of bread on top. She turned around and dropped the plate as she ran into Frank, who had walked up behind her.  Taking advantage of her surprise, he reached and pulled her close to him, the alcohol from his breath burning her eyes. “I decided that I’m not hungry, which only leaves one option.” Frank said. Emily growled with rage, bringing her knee up with all of the might, swinging towards his crotch. Frank laughed as he turned slightly, taking the blow on his upper thigh.  “Darlin’, you ain’t gonna catch me with that move again.” Emily started to reach up towards Frank’s face, her fingers curled into claws. Frank’s hand shot out and grabbed her by the neck.  “Stop fighting or I will crush your fucking throat.”  He growled as he squeezed her neck. Emily began to panic as Frank squeezed harder.  She was swinging her arms wildly, trying to knock his hand loose.  Frank wasn’t a large guy but he possessed an unexpected strength.  He used that strength to lift her up by the neck and slam her down on the counter. Emily’s head hit the Formica counter hard enough to cause her to briefly lose consciousness.  She woke up to fingers tugging at the buttons on her shirt.  She tried protesting but it felt like she was moving in slow motion.  A slap stung her cheek and threatened to send her back into the darkness. Frank pulled his hand back and slapped her again.  “Little Miss cock tease.” Frank said, leaning over her. As he brought his hand back to hit her again, something flew by his head.  He looked up as a pair of binoculars hit the front door and shattered. “What the…?” Frank said as something leaped on him from behind, arms reaching around his face.  Frank laughed as he realized who had attacked him.  “It’s the little fuckin’ retard, coming to rescue his sister.” Frank said, grinning like a madman. Frank reached back and grabbed Tyler by the back of the shirt and tossed him into the refrigerator door.  Tyler slid down and hit the ground hard. With Frank’s hand off her throat, Emily was able to catch her breath.  As she coughed and struggled to clear her head, she reached out with fumbling hands, trying to find something, anything, to help her.  When she felt a cold, metal handle, she grabbed it and swung it blindly at Frank.  The mayonnaise covered butterknife slammed into Frank’s upper arm, burying itself deep enough to hit bone. As Frank screamed and ripped the knife out of his arm, Emily began rolling along the counter.  Hitting the edge, she fell off, landing on the trashcan and sending it crashing across the floor.  The noise jolted Frank into action and he leaped forward, trying to grab her ankles as she scrambled across the cracked linoleum onto the cheap, threadbare carpet of the living room. Emily crawled toward the front door but stopped when she looked back and noticed Tyler, who was beginning to stir on the kitchen floor.  She tried to yell for her brother but her bruised and swollen throat could only manage a weak moan. Frank stormed into the living room.  As he approached Emily, she cocked her leg back and aimed a kick at his knee.  He jumped to the side, avoiding her strike, and pounced on her, pinning her to the carpet.  He leaned forward, inches from her face, and said, in a quiet, rage-filled voice, “Merry Christmas.” Frank leaned back and started swinging his fists at Emily’s head.  She did her best to block the blows but he kept on swinging, unleashing the rage upon her.  After a few moments, he stopped, out of breath, and looked back toward the kitchen.  Tyler was standing there, holding something triumphantly in his hand. “Frank!  Let her go!  I’ll do it, I swear!” Tyler yelled, holding his hand out. Emily looked up, her face already starting to swell, and tried to focus on Tyler.  When she saw what he was holding in his hand, a realization hit her like a bucket of cold water.  She knew what he was about to do.  she knew and she believed.  Emily tried to yell at him to stop but all she could do was lay there and watch.  Frank, looking confused, stood to face the youngster. Tyler held up a cookie for a few seconds and then yelled, “Take this, you son of a bitch!”  He then shoved the whole cookie in his mouth and started chewing vigorously. Frank shook his head and said, “You are one fuckin’ weird kid.” as he began to move. Tyler stood there, defiantly chewing as Frank closed in on him.  Just as Frank crossed over into the kitchen, a loud thud shook the house.  At first, Emily thought a car hit their house but as a thunderous roar pierced the night, she knew that Tyler had been correct, Satan Claus had arrived. Frank, who had his fist raised to strike Tyler, turned and took a few steps toward the door, holding his ears. The screams suddenly stopped.  There were a few seconds of silence, dead silence where the only sound you could hear was the beating of your heart.  And then the front door exploded. Fragments of wood, glass, and metal shot through the air revealing a gruesome creature.  The creature filled the doorway, ducking down to enter the room.  It had a vaguely wolf-like face and large, pointed horns.  It wore a tight dirty red jacked trimmed in white fur on its apelike torso.   It stood on two massive legs that ended in cloven hooves that caused the ground to shake with every step.  It had long, wicked claws at the end of its elongated arms.  The strangest part was the almost comical undersized red hat that sat on the creature’s head. Frank appeared dazed, dozens of small cuts along his face and arms.  He staggered forward as if he were going to push by the creature to leave.  The demon looked down at Frank as if amused then grabbed him by the neck.  It raised Frank high and then slammed him to the floor. Emily stumbled to her feet and ran to Tyler, who was slumped against the fridge.  The creature roared as it began to tear Frank’s chest open.  Emily grabbed Tyler by the shoulders and turned toward the backdoor when a body part, probably a leg, flew across the room and slammed into the wall next to it.  She then gathered Tyler up and ran down the hall to her mom’s bedroom, the only one with a lock on the door.

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Ep.62 – The Weather Outside is Frightful - There's a Blizzard and This Killer's Blood is Just as Cold!

Episode Notes

During a record breaking blizzard two cops answer a call that turns into more than they bargained for when they discover an ax weilding maniac hell bent on spreading Christmas fear!

The Weather Outside is Frightful by Shane Migliavacca

Buy the new book! https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08P4ZF9LG/

Music by Ray Mattis http://raymattispresents.bandcamp.com

Produced by Daniel Wilder

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Support us on Patreon http://patreon.com/IncrediblyHandsome

Contact Us/Submit a Story twitter.com/WeeklySpooky facebook.com/WeeklySpooky WeeklySpooky@gmail.com

This episode sponsored by HenFlix.com

For everything else visit WeeklySpooky.com


It was the worst blizzard the city had seen in over a decade. In time the storm would be known as ‘The Christmas Eve Blizzard of ‘73’, but tonight it was just ‘the storm’.    

Patrolwoman Halsey Stone strained her eyes scanning the sidewalk as the radio car crawled down the street, her partner Officer Roy Soccorso at the wheel. This part of the city had been hit hard by the country's current financial stagnation… decaying buildings, junk piled on the side of the street, broke down cars left to rot in open lots… for Stone this was too much like the poverty she'd grown up around. 

Many of the large buildings were seemingly abandoned, but in truth whole families lived within their walls, as did the normal cast of junkies, drunks, and other shady characters. 

An anonymous caller had reported a woman screaming for help. They'd circled the block a few times, but come up with nothing. The blizzard had driven everyone indoors… between the strong gusts of wind and the visibility being shit, nobody in their right mind would be out here. But here they were, on Christmas Eve no less... not that either of them had anywhere else to be… Stone had left her family behind when she’d moved to the “big city.”, and her partner was estranged from his wife and daughter. 

Stone’s left hand clasped and unclasped her holster. Almost keeping a steady rhythm.

"Enough," snapped Soccorso.


"With the holster kid."

Shit. She hadn't realized she'd been doing it. She could get lost in thought sometimes. "Sorry."

"This is just a bullshit call kid."


Stone took off her uniform cap. She smoothed back some of her long blonde hair that obstinately refused to corporate. 

"What? You think there's something to this call? Probably just some junkie trying to steal a few bucks… or some asshole trying to stay warm by raping a bitc-" He stopped himself. His face reddened a little. "Sorry kid."

Stone adjusted her dirty blonde ponytail. Maybe he was right… 

"How long do you want this to go on?" Soccorso said.

"What? Your shitty attitude?"

"No Okie. Looking for our phantom suspect."

God she hated that. When somebody back at the precinct found out about her family coming from the Ozarks, one of the assholes had started calling her ‘Okie’. They'd got it from some old song, and it stuck like glue.

"You got somewhere to be?" She said, somehow making it sound like “fuck you”.

He shot her a look. "No, just think our time could be spent better."

She drummed her fingers on the dash. All she wanted to do was bounce Soccorso's head off the dash… the anger was always there, had always been there. Once it scared her, now it was a friend.

"You know what, Okie? I'm going to make it your call. Do we continue looking?"

Stone took a deep breath. "My choice? No bitching?"

"Your call."

Since she’d been a kid, she’d had a “feeling”… she could always tell when something bad was coming. Stone had that feeling now.

"Another time around. If there's nothing… we go."

"Okay. Fair enough."

Soccorso turned the corner, as outside the wind gusted. Stone could feel the car move a little pushed by the wind.

"We've been at this dance for almost a month now kid, I'm supposed to be training you… be your partner… and I know jack and shit about you."

That was the way she liked it. There was too much in her past. 

"What's there to know? I'm from Missouri."

"You should open up more. Hang out with some of us."

"Why? You guys constantly make fun of me… where I came from."

"That's just ribbing you… no different than any other rookie. You make it harder on yourself anyway, acting like a brat."

"Sorry I'm just not Miss Fun and Games."

The woman came out of the blanket of falling snow, running at their car screaming. There was blood on her hands and jacket. 

Soccorso swerved the car, and ended up in a snowbank. Stone was already undoing her seat belt. 

"Fuck! You okay kid?"


The woman came running towards them. Stone started to open the door.

"Oh god, officer I'm so sorry." 

"Ma'am, take it easy. Is that your blood? Are you injured?"

She shook her head. "No." The woman was shaking. "His-his blood."

Soccorso tried getting his door open, but the snowbank wouldn't give as he slammed the door repeatedly against the packed snow. 

Stone took the panicked women towards their car.

"What's your name ma'am?"

"Dorothy. It's Dorothy."

"Okay Dorothy, I need you to get in the back of the car."

Dorothy hesitated.

"What? Why?"

"You'll be safe. Until we can get somebody to look at you."

Soccorso finally gave up on getting his door open. 

Dorothy slid in, and sat in the middle of the backseat. A steel mesh separated Dorothy from Soccorso. 

"You'll be safe here. Now can you tell me what happened Dorothy?"

Dorothy told her how she'd been cutting through the alleyway on her way home from the corner store when a large man had come out of a nook in the alley and chased after her. When she fell on the icy ground he grabbed her. Terrified she pulled a metal nail file from her purse, stuck it into his leg, and made her escape. 

Dorothy pointed to the alley across the street a little ways back.

"It was there."

"Thank you Dorothy." Stone said. "You’re very brave. My partner will take care of you until an ambulance arrives.” 

"I will?"

Dorothy looked up at Stone, perhaps sensing what was about to happen. "I looked into his eyes, officer… there was nothing inside."

Stone tied to reassure her. "It's going to be okay."

"Kid, don't even think-" Soccorso said.

She cut him off. "Call it in. Get back up."

Stone slammed the door shut before he could protest any more.

Stone took off down the street towards the alley Dorothy had indicated. 

This was it… that feeling of dread that she’d felt. Her heart felt like it was going to break free from her chest. 

She made it to the alley. He could still be here… nursing his wound she thought. Ultimately he wasn’t in the alley… but something was.

The nail file. He'd pulled it out… now he'd bleed more and make her job easier. Stone followed the blood down another alley and out on to a deserted street. 

She had never been much of a hunter. Her dad had tried to teach her, but her patience was lacking. He'd seemed so disappointed in her, but those times out in the woods with him, just walking, those were some of her favorite memories of growing up. 

But now her father was spending another Christmas in prison. She sighed.

From somewhere above, Christmas music drifted down. Hark the Herald Angels. 

The heavy snowfall was quickly covering the blood. 

Stone came out of the alley. She heard voices and a door close. 

She spun around, her gun at the ready. 

A young couple stood there holding Christmas gifts, a look of shock etched on their faces. Their little dog on a leash yelped at her.

The man raised his hands dropping the gifts.

"Have you seen anybody suspicious.. other than me… maybe bleeding?"

The dog continued yelping. The man pulled hard on its leash. "Shut up Mitzy." 

Stone wouldn't mind slamming the guy against the wall. 

"No, officer." 

"I need you both to go back inside. There's a dangerous and wounded man in the vicinity."

Stone crossed the street. The trail continued down the side of the street past a large abandoned building. Then it stopped. 

Ahead of her, Stone heard a loud metallic ‘clank’… like a metal door or lid closing. 

She regretted leaving Soccorso behind. “No” Stone thought, “This is where I show them what I can do”. 

She crouched. Slowly she peeked around the corner of the building until she had a full view of the small street that lay beyond. 

There, next to an abandoned theater, was a metal hatch set in the ground. Those led to basements Soccorso had told her. Stone, gun at the ready inched towards it. Snow had been brushed off… very recently. 

And there was a bloody handprint on the hatch. “Got you bastard” she thought!

She pulled a rag from her jacket. There was no way she was taking a chance of fucking up the evidence. 

Her service pistol ready, Stone pulled on the hatch. Locked… of course. She'd have to find another way in. 

Then she heard it… the rustle of wings. Stone looked up. 

Perched on a rusty metal railing was a large white owl. It stared at her with its large luminous eyes… eyes that looked into her. She stared at it transfixed. 

Then it struck her what it was sitting on… the railing of a fire escape!

She ran over and discovered the bottom of the escape’s ladder was just out of reach. Frantically she looked around for something she could use to get up there. 

And there it was, sitting against the far wall of an adjacent building. An old plastic chair. She carried the chair over, and on tiptoes she reached and pulled herself up. All that tree climbing as a kid paid off. 

The fire escape led to a locked second story metal door. Not far from it was a window set above a narrow ledge. She stepped over the metal railing, and on to the ledge.

The wind howled. She feared a really strong gust might blow her off her perch on the ledge. Her feet knocked snow free as she inched towards the window. 

Finally she made it to the window. Using the flashlight from her belt Stone smashed through the glass and climbed through the window into the dark interior. 

She played the beam of the flashlight over the floor and walls of what had once been an office. The broken glass crumbled underfoot as she made her way through the room. 

Stone crept into the hallway, and soon entered the main theater area. Paint was chipping off the walls, and the seats that hadn't been ripped out or defaced in some way were covered in years of dust. She headed towards the stage area. Her snow covered boots kicked up dust as she moved, leaving wet tracks on the dirty floor. Stone climbed onto the stage. 

An ugly looking green couch sat by itself at the center of the stage, the curtain pulled shut behind it. She opened the curtain and entered the backstage. 

Stones flashlight beam caught a blank white face. She almost pulled her trigger before she realized a mannequin stood before her. 

She walked past the expressionless mannequin. 

"Fuck you asshole."

There was a long dark hallway that led off the backstage area. Old mattresses were stacked in a haphazard pile, stained with god knows what. A musty smell permeated the air. 

A large wood wardrobe sat in the middle of the hall, rotting. Stone raised her weapon in her left hand, and reached out with her right. She yanked the door open, causing it to fall off in the process. Stone backed up… it was empty.

Continuing on, she passed  a pile of broken props and raggedy costumes on racks, before arriving at a metal staircase leading to the basement.

She headed down, the metal clanking under her boots. The basement hallway was lined with brick, and appeared to be in better shape then the walls up above. 

Another foul smell filled the air down here… the smell of something rotten.

A mattress lay on the floor. Next to it sat stacks of books and empty soup cans. Someone was living here. On the wall were taped to it were newspaper clippings and excerpts from books and magazines… all concerning ax murders. Above them, scrawled in blood it read: THE AXEMAN COMETH! 

“Oh great, he’s got a secret identity” 

At the far end of the room was a metal door. A large rusty chain was wound through the handles and secured with a padlock. 

Before she could reach for the door, something wet hit her face. Stone turned her beam upwards to see multiple severed arms hanging from large strands of butcher’s twine. 

Not thinking she bolted forward and crashed into the metal doors with all her might. The doors tore from their rusty hinges and crashed to the floor with Stone in tow.

She quickly sprung to her feet and swung her flashlight around the new room. Taped to the walls in various sizes were crosses made out of paper. She inspected one of the crosses on the wall closest to her to find it was made from Bible pages. At the far end of the room was some kind of demented altar made primarily of lashed together bones. A large metal cross stood at its center surrounded by a multitude of crimson candles which filled the surrounding air with acrid smoke. 

"I've taken their sin." A deep voice said from behind her.

Startled, Stone spun around to see a brute of a man covered in shoddy, blood stained clothes standing in the doorway cradling an ax in his arms as if it were a newborn baby. Around his right leg a rag was tied where he'd been stabbed by Dorothy.

"I cut it from their bodies."

"You killed them."

"Freed them. They died without sin."

He walked forward towards her with a limp.

"Freeze you mother fucker!" Stone barked, her voice trembling.  

He stopped in his tracks.

“I was chosen.” He held out the ax. “It chose me.”

"Shut up!” She didn’t want to hear his psycho sales pitch. “Put the ax on the ground and place your hands behind your head."

He stared at her as if not comprehending.

“I’ve been to another plane… ascended. I was sent back to do their work here.”

"Do it fucker!" Stone screamed, her anger getting the best of her.

He set the ax down tenderly, putting his hands together behind his head.


He did as he was told with some effort.

She moved forward and kicked the ax away. She noticed before it’s flight that it was covered in strange symbols.The wind outside sounded like whispers in the air… calling her. 

"I can't help but notice you’re left-handed" he said.

This caught her off guard enough that the man was able to lunge at her legs with a pocket knife, catching her in the side of the right leg. The .38 and the flashlight fell from her hands as she instinctively touched her wound. Stone retreated as painfully he stood and retrieved his ax.

"Do you know what it's like to die the painful death of a million screams in silence every day?"

Stone fell against the wall, leaving a trail of blood in her wake.

"Then they came to me. Angels. Took my pain. Gave me this ax. God teaches us with pain. That's how we become worthy of his love. Through pain."

He limped forward. Stone’s head began swimming wildly.

"Would you like to meet God?" he asked, raising the ax.

She felt the cold metal sticking in her leg. With all her remaining strength, and channeled anger, Stone pulled the knife from her wound. The pain was immeasurable. 

“You first!” Stone screamed.

She plunged the blade deep within his breast causing him to howl in agony. Stone pulled out the blade and brought it down again… and again… and again… until blackness took her.

She awoke to find the man in a fetal position, sobbing loudly.

Stone crawled forward and found her .38. The man started to slowly rise, using the ax to prop himself up.

"Don't you move." Stone said hoarsely.

"I could have helped you." 

He stood fully on shaking legs.

"I-I said don't move."

She took aim. Her arms felt like rubber.

"Cleanse the world of sin."

He limped towards her dragging the ax along the ground.

"Stop." She said, her voice breaking.

"You see it, don't you? See them… it’s in your eyes. In your soul.” He said reaching out for her with a bloody hand. 

Stone squeezed the trigger, firing a round into his chest and another into his forehead. His brains exited his head in a geyser of gore. He fell to his knees, the ax clattering to the ground. Then he fell forward… his body shuddered and lay still. The darkness took her once more.

Stone saw her parents playing with her as a child, followed by the great white owl, swooping down from the sky. It landed in a tree, watching her. It spoke to her… "Okie? Okie?"

"Okie? Okie?" Soccorso called from somewhere out in the hall.

"He-Here!" She said. Stone wasn't sure if he'd hear her.

He stumbled into the room. "Hang on kid."

He put a hand over her wound, pressing tight.

"Back-up is coming. Stay awake okay?"

She grabbed his arm.

"God, my corns are killing me after tracking your damn ass all over town.”

"I'm dying, and your bitching about your feet?!!"

"Shut the fuck up, you’re not dying… they make them tough where you’re from, right Missouri."

She nodded and smiled.

“Well, Merry Christmas Missouri.”

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Ep.61 – Babes in Terrorland/Santa's Letters - A Blood Red Christmas is in Store for You!

Episode Notes

Tonight we have a DOUBLE FEATURE! Two wicked stories! One about a cute toy shop with a dark secret and another about someone who is playing a DEADLY GAME of Secret Santa...

Babes in Terrorland/Santa's Letters by Morgan Moore

Get the Book: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08P4ZF9LG/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_X.p2FbW448V8Z

Music by Ray Mattis http://raymattispresents.bandcamp.com

Produced by Daniel Wilder

Get Cool Merchandise http://store.weeklyspooky

Support us on Patreon http://patreon.com/IncrediblyHandsome

Contact Us/Submit a Story twitter.com/WeeklySpooky facebook.com/WeeklySpooky WeeklySpooky@gmail.com

This episode sponsored by HenFlix.com

For everything else visit WeeklySpooky.com


Babes in Terrorland

As with many holiday seasons before it, parents and children flocked to Barron’s Toy Store, in the village of Greenseas. 

In the middle of the crowd was Justin Barron, a fourteen year old with an apron featuring a handsewn version of the store’s logo in the middle. Justin was staying with his grandmother, the owner of the store, for the holidays while his parents were away on a business trip. He was enlisted to lend a hand almost immediately upon his arrival with it being the store’s busiest time of the year. 

Justin could never understand how she managed it all on her own… but she had been doing it ever since his grandfather died a few years ago, and was managing it successfully somehow.

Justin moved around the store as best he could seeing how crowded the small store was. The building itself was an old brownstone with the store situated on the ground floor and Mrs. Barron’s home on the second floor. 

The store could become a claustrophobic nightmare when business was booming, but he managed stocking the shelves and helping out customers as best he could. 

By the time three o’ clock came around Justin was spent and was ready for the day to be over so he could finally get some rest. Those thoughts were interrupted when he laid eyes on Cathy Wilcox.

He had known her since fourth grade and had a crush on her that never faded. Justin always wanted to tell her how he felt, but he could never muster up the courage to do it. Somehow he could picture everything he wanted to say, but anytime he saw her it all vanished.

Justin felt himself beginning to melt as he kept looking at her. His face turned bright red and immediately Justin began to do some busy week around the area, trying to disguise the fact that he had been staring at her. 

Justin’s heart beat faster and faster as if somebody was pounding away on a drum, but that came to an immediate halt when he felt a gentle tap on his shoulder. He turned around and saw Cathy there.

“Hi Justin.” Cathy said sweetly.

“H-hi Cathy.” Justin stammered, his face feeling like it was on fire.

Cathy gave him an intimate smile, her blue eyes seeming to shimmer to Justin. “Mind if I ask you a question?”

Uh-oh Justin thought. She’s gonna chew me out for looking at her, and in the middle of the store too. Everybody’s going to think I’m some perv. “Sure.” Justin responded after a brief pause.

“Could you help me and my sister real quick?”

What a relief Justin thought. “Oh, yeah, for sure. What do you guys need?” He asked, she then began to walk away down an aisle, Justin followed close behind her.

“My sister found something she wants but I can’t reach it and neither can she. I saw you and thought I’d ask you to bring it down for me, since your so tall and all.” Cathy explained.

“Ohhhh. Yeah I should be able to get it for you.” Justin replied with a smile.

Cathy returned the smile. Man she’s sooooo cute Justin thought as they kept walking beside one another.

The two eventually got to their location and joined Cathy’s sister Janet. Upon seeing Justin and the apron identifying him as a store employee, Janet pointed upwards towards the top of the shelf she was standing at.

“That one please.” Janet asked Justin.

Justin looked up to where the child pointed and saw a clown doll. The doll had been in the store ever since he could remember. It had a wooden head and hands and was dressed in a hand sewn outfit colored silver and blue. A jester hat adorned it’s head; bells dangling down playfully. 

Justin had always thought it looked creepy, and other people must have thought the same thing, as the doll had been around the store ever since he was a child. But maybe, finally, someone had found the doll appealing and wanted to give it a home.

Justin smiled and reached up, just barely able to get to the doll. He got a grip on it and brought it down, handing it gently to the little girl.

“Here you go.” Justin said.

Janet smiled as she held and stared at the doll. Cathy turned to Justin and gave him a big smile, he returned it in kind.

“I want him!” Janet responded energetically as she held the clown doll up to the two.

“How much is it?” Cathy asked Justin.

“I’m not sure, it doesn’t look like it has a tag on it. Let’s ask my grandma.” Justin said.

They arrived at the register, to find Justin’s grandmother smiling at the three. “There you are Justin, what cute friends you have there” she said. Cathy blushed lightly at the comment.

“Hey grandma,how much is this? There’s no tag on it or even a sign on the shelf it was on.”

His grandmother’s smile turned to a slight frown. “Oh honey, I’m so sorry. That doll isn’t for sale. I only keep it on the shelf for decoration.” She explained as sweetly as possible.

“But I want it.” Janet told her. “Are sure you’re not able to sell it?” Cathy asked.

“Unfortunately I am dear. My husband made the doll many years ago for Justin’s mother, and it has too much sentimental value for me to sell it… it’s been watching over the store for years” Justin’s grandma explained to the three.

Janet frowned, tears starting to well up. 

Justin smiled a little bit at the two and at his grandma. “It’s alright. I’ll put him back.” Justin said. He then made a motion with his head for Cathy and Janet to follow him.

The three of them made their way back to the aisle. Janet looked utterly devastated that she couldn’t have the doll, and Cathy looked equally saddened for her sister. 

Once they got back to the aisle, Justin put the doll back up. He then turned to Cathy with a small grin. She tilted her head in confusion.

“What is it? Why are you grinning like that.” She asked him. “Because, I know of a way to get the doll for Janet.” He explained. Janet’s face brightened up at once. “Really?! How?!” Justin moved a bit closer to Cathy so that he could talk to her in semi privacy, Janet frowning when she realized what was going on.

“My grandma is going out to a party tonight and I’ll be alone for hours. Come on by around eight  and I’ll let you in. We can get the doll then.” He explained to her.

“But she’ll notice won’t she?” Cathy asked.

“Don’t worry, I’ll take care of it. Just be here by eight.” 

Later that night Justin made his way downstairs to the store,and opened the front door to find Cathy and Janet standing there. Justin frowned a tiny bit as the two girls made their way inside.

“Why’d you bring your sister?” He asked, doing his best to hide his disappointment that it wasn’t just Cathy.

“She wanted to come and I couldn’t get her to stay home without spilling the beans. I told my parents I was going out with friends and she threatened to tell them what was really going on.” Cathy explained.

“I mean it isn’t entirely untrue. You are hanging out with a friend.” Justin said with a small smile. “I’m going!” Janet blurted out and ran towards the aisle with the doll.

“How are you going to explain this to your grandma?” Cathy asked as she walked past a display of a toy war scene.

“Oh. I’m going to tell her I ordered a pizza and just forgot to lock the door on my way back up. I’ll take some money out of the register and hide a few other toys, maybe knock some displays over to make it look like somebody broke in and robbed the place.” He explained.

“That’s pretty clever. Mean… but clever.” She responded as she stopped by the register, Justin stopping in front of her.

“Hey what can I say.” Justin said.

Cathy smiled a bit as she fiddled with some small toys by the register. She looked around and then returned her gaze to Justin. “Why are you doing this for us? Why are you risking getting in trouble?”

His mind raced at a million miles an hour, trying to figure out how to explain why he was so willing to help her sister out. No, help her out. Before he could give it any more thought he blurted out his response.

“It’s because I like you I've always liked you I think you’re sweet and cute, and I just wanted to help because I like you and thought maybe you’d like me back if I did it!”

He gasped for breath. 

Justin closed his eyes and took several deep breaths, eventually regaining control of his breathing. After a few brief minutes he opened his eyes, finding that Cathy was staring at him, her mouth dropped open some and eyes wide. 

Dread filled Justin, his heart beating harder and harder. Oh no, she’s gonna leave and never speak to me again and tell everybody I’m a loser and freak.

But she surprised him by smiling at him, warmly and widely. Justin slowly smiled back. They brought their faces close to one another, only a hairs breadth apart.

The scream that ripped through the air put an end to that.

“Janet!” Cathy called out and rushed off towards the location the scream emanated from, Justin following in her wake.

The duo arrived to find Janet laying on the floor screaming and crying in agony, her eye sockets bleeding profusely. As for the former residents of those yawning black holes, they were in the hands of the clown doll. The toy turned its head and looked at them. 

Justin and Cathy bolted from the aisle, the clown doll right behind them. As they ran down the aisles Cathy shrieked as other toys began to spring from the shelves and joined the hunt.

Stuffed bears and lions pawed at them with vicious claws that sprang from their plush paws as metal model cars pelted down on the teens like rain, leaving bruises and cuts. 

Justin managed to grab a baseball bat from a nearby barrel and started swinging away, as Cathy grabbed a stick horse and did the same. The two sent toys flying left and right, but more and more came forth.

Soon Justin and Cathy found themselves surrounded. They continued to swing away, but soon the terror toys grabbed their weapons and pulled them away, leaving the pair defenseless. 

Justin and Cathy looked at each other and took hold of each others hand, ready to accept their doomed fate.

The store lights came alive and bathed everything in a warm fluorescent glow, causing the pair to start. 

“Oh no, look at this mess.” the voice of Justin’s grandmother rang out. The older woman looked around at all of the toys, who now looked back at her. She stopped a few feet away from the rattled teens.

“Grandma! W-what’s going on!? Why are you home!?” Justin spat out in a mix of confusion and anger.

“And why did they attack us and… my sister… my god, Janet!” Cathy started but soon stopped as she succumbed to raw grief.

The senior shook her head and sighed. “I suppose I should explain. You see these toys, all of them, they come alive every nightfall.”

“B-but why… how!? ” Justin demanded.

“Justin, dear, your grandfather...your grandfather made them that way. Business hasn’t been the same for years, not since that damn department store opened up. Then when we learned your grampa didn’t have long left… he was afraid of what would happen to the store… to me. It was his opinion that without any help the store would have to shut down, so he decided to create some help.

Your grandfather had come across a strange scroll during the war, in a bombed out toy store… a store he swore was filled with screaming, burning toys. You can guess the rest. These toys have been cleaning, stocking, and providing security… as you have seen… here ever since. These wonderful toys, they’re loyal and always have been… always will be. 

Justin and Cathy were taken aback. They believed it all, after-all how could they not. But something still bothered them.

“Oh thank god! We’re safe then!” Cathy told them. The two smiled as they looked at each other and then at Justin’s grandma. But the frowns faded as they saw that the elder in front of them was grim.

“G-grandma…” Justin started with a shaky voice.

“I’m sorry love. But you were trespassing. You know I don’t like you coming down here at night, to say nothing of your friend here and her sister. The store was closed. Besides...they don’t move during the day, but they can still hear. When I left for the party they told me about your little plan. That’s why I came back early.”

“You mean you’re going to turn us into the police?” Cathy asked.

“No. Unfortunately for you two, I leave all security matters up to them. Your fate is up to them and I believe I know what they will do with you.” She explained. 

The toy soldiers from the war scene filed in, aiming their guns at the teenagers. Justin and Cathy’s faces displayed pure and utter terror.

With that Justin’s grandmother left and made her way to the stairs. She looked over at the two again and shook her head and sighed. Then, with a flick of her wrist she turned off the lights to the store. 

A stream of sharp ‘BANGS’ filled the store.

Santa Letters

Every year millions of children send letters to Santa Claus, expressing their wishes of what they hope will be under their tree come Christmas day. 

But, what if somebody used those letters for a not so joyful purpose? It has happened and the following is purported to be the true account of those events. This is the case of the ‘Circleville Santa Letter Murders’.

In 1978, the citizens of the small Ohio town of Circleville were beginning their Christmas season like any other; planning the December holiday while eating Thanksgiving dinner, making travel arrangements, and all the other hullabaloo that comes with the impending season. 

While the adults were occupied, the children of Circleville were planning as well; once more taking up the job of writing letters to inform Old Saint Nick of their Yuletide desires. Even the local schools were caught up in the fun, setting up small deposit mailboxes for the kids to place letters in.

All was well in Circleville as December came and Christmas magic filled the air even more than it already had throughout November. Everything was peace and joy... unfortunately that was all about to change.

In the early morning of December seventh, ten year old Dylan Jones was delivering papers for the Circleville Herald like he always did. When he reached the house of Joe and April Robinson he was about to be greeted with a horrendous site. 

Jones went around back to deliver the paper as he always did when he discovered the mutilated body of five year old Mary-Kate Robinson, a letter to Santa Claus nailed to her forehead. The boy screamed so loud that almost the entire neighborhood was jarred awake and came rushing to the scene. 

Police questioned the family, friends, teachers, everybody within the small community to try and figure out any clues and leads as to who may have committed this horrible crime, but no answers emerged. Unfortunately for the town it was not the end of this tragedy.

On December twelfth around twelve o'clock in the afternoon, eight year old Michael Stollings was on his way to the park to meet up with a group of friends. At two o’clock his friends called Michael’s house and informed his parents that he had never showed. Immediately the Stollings phoned the police, worried about their son, the fate of the Robinson girl foremost in their minds.

It wasn’t long before the police found Michael, much like Mary-Kate Robinson; dead with his body mutilated and a letter to Santa Claus nailed to his forehead.

The next day sheriff Patrick o’Kyle held a press conference in which he vowed to put a stop to this chaos. Curfews were put in place to make sure children of all ages were home by five o’clock at night, and the youngsters were also advised to travel together in groups. Soon things looked to be improving and a week went by without anything happening. That was soon to change.

December twentieth was another quiet day. 

Fred and Darlene Brooks headed out for a long overdue date night, leaving fifteen year old Tonya Wisecup in charge of their children. 

The pair returned home at close to midnight to find their home bathed in darkness. Upon entering the house the two noticed a smell they later said reminded them of rotting meat. They didn’t think much of it as they had recently been battling with raccoons getting stuck in the attic and dying. Tired and tipsy the Brooks went to bed, assuming that their babysitter was down in the basement asleep, spending the night as she tended to when she had school the next day.

When they awakened the following morning, the couple went downstairs to check on Tonya and see if she had indeed stayed overnight. What they discovered was nothing short of a bloodbath. Their children; John, Laura, Victoria were all dead… letters nailed to their heads, but this time there was a chilling new twist; a limb from each child was placed under the small Christmas tree set up in the basement.

As for Tonya, she laid discarded on the floor, cut from neck to groin and left to bleed out.

Later that day the city announced a new curfew for all residents, stating everyone in town must be home and have their businesses closed by four p.m.. Sheriff o’Kyle also advised residents take extra precautions to keep their homes locked and defended. 

The city became a ghost town come four o’clock. The chimes of clocks that rang the curfew hour ushered in eerie quiet. December twenty second and twenty third came and went with no incidents, but the town remained firmly on guard.

The morning of December twenty fourth came with no surprises as well. It was a dreary winter day; the gloom and holiday cheer mixing together like cold and warm fronts.

Circleville had started to loosen up slightly, something not hard to do considering it was Christmas Eve. The curfew was still in effect, but that seemed to almost add to the magic of the holiday as families stayed bundled in together,celebrating in warm homes that stood in contrast to the cold outside.  

Night came and the hours drifted along. It seemed that perhaps these terrible crimes were at an end. 

Christmas morning came and the police who had stood guard in the city streets throughout the night started to head back to the station, ready to go home to their own families to celebrate. But before anybody could leave a call came in. Somehow the killer had struck again, right under their noses. Twice.

The first victim was ten year old Jackson Devins who was found dead in his bedroom by his parents, his window pried open. At the same time police also discovered the body of six year old Addison Fergurson who’s body was found in a shed in her family’s backyard.

This sent the town over the edge into a full blown frenzy. Who was responsible for all of these deaths? How could anybody have broken into the homes and committed the crimes without being caught? Who was next?

Police set up barricades to close off the town and began a city wide manhunt, joined by the town’s residents. 

All day they searched, and the next day, and the next. For a solid week they searched, but no leads arose and no culprit was found. 

The new year came and it seemed that, finally, there was peace. No murders had been committed since Christmas, and law enforcement officials theorized that there would be no more incidents since the season was over. 

On January tenth Circleville held a citywide memorial service in honor of the victims and has held a similar service every Christmas Eve since.

These murders left many questions, all starting with who the murderer was. Upon reflection, they stated that they believed the murderer, due to the use of the letters the children wrote to Santa Clause, had to work for either the postal service or the school. As such the police conducted mass interviews for all post office and school employees.

While everybody interviewed seemed on edge, nobody stood out as being a psychopathic killer. As the weeks rolled on the case began to go cold. Without conclusive evidence to form any leads, the city and police made the controversial decision to stop the investigation.

1979 continued on, the tragedy still hanging over the town of Circleville like the spectre of death. 

People slowly started to return to what they could call a “normal” life, with only hushed whispers of the “The Santa Letter Murders.” remaining. 

Months went by and soon it was November. The Christmas spirit began to grow in the town once more, but it was tempered by fears of a new murder spree possibly arising.

In preparation, Circleville schools announced they would not put up letter boxes for kids this year as a safety precaution. The post office took action as well; stating that any letters addressed to Santa Claus would go straight to the police for protection. Everything that the town could think of they implemented, hoping to avoid another year of mayhem.

December 1979 began and ended with no murders. This left everyone baffled. Why did the killer not strike again? What was it about this year compared to the last to make him or her not lash out? 

Perhaps the crimes would be nothing more than a freak event, an unsolved mystery like so many others. That feeling continued into the next year, and for the next, and on and on.

To this day nobody knows who could have been behind the murders. 

Christmas in Circleville was never quite the same, but the years dulled the fear somewhat, and the police allowed the post office to accept letters to Santa once more… but did not allow the school to re-open their drop box. 

The same question always pops up; who did it? While law enforcement never did name a suspect or conduct any arrests, o’Kyle later said that he had a theory of the murderer’s identity. 

He suspected that elementary school teacher Linda Morrison was the killer after discovering her dead from suicide in January 1980. His reasoning was based on the fact that she was the one responsible for handing the letters to the post office in 1978. 

It was his belief that she made photocopies of the letters before delivering them. As for how she would have selected her victims, o’Kyle claimed that she did so based on which children in the school were receiving discipline for bad behavior. 

However there was no concrete evidence.

Perhaps it was Morrison, trying to enact a form of discipline on the children who acted out and the parents who raised their children to act as such. Though perhaps it was a disgruntled post office employee. Maybe it was somebody else who worked at one of the schools. Some theories suggest it was o’Kyle himself or another person within law enforcement. 

Doubtless, no one will ever know for sure. 

All that is known is that the fear lingers in the cool, crisp winter air that one day, the devilish deliverer will once again return, bringing Christmas terror to the town.

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Ep.60 – Welcome to Tiny Christmas, Iowa! - The Secret Santa Here is DEADLY

Episode Notes

An overworked business woman takes a new job in the midwest winter wonderland town of Tiny Christmas, Iowa. As her Christmas spirit starts to warm up like a hot cup of cocoa something isn't quite right and giftwrap isn't all that's hiding things.

Welcome to Tiny Christmas, Iowa! by Michelle Adler

Music by Ray Mattis http://raymattispresents.bandcamp.com

Produced by Daniel Wilder

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This episode sponsored by HenFlix.com

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I let out a sigh as my Uber passed the "Now Entering Tiny Christmas Iowa" sign. "According to the sign it's the Tiniest most Christmasiest place in all of Iowa!" My Uber driver Ajeet chuckled, sensing my displeasure. "I'm sure it's just as Christmasy as all fuck" I say, trying to come off cheery and almost succeeding until that curse word at the end. I lied on my interview.  I hate Christmas, I hate the midwest, the only thing I know about Iowa is that it’s a Slipknot album, and I have never designed a window display in my life. I am just an unemployable, grumpy, freelance graphic designer from New York City, trying to find any work that isn’t stocking shelves at a grocery store. To be honest, I didn’t realize the position was out of state until after I’d applied. I’d initially intended to turn the job down as I’d never had any desire to live anywhere other than the city that never sleeps. The high-rise condos, rats, street vendors, homeless people on every street corner, bodegas also on every corner, and constant bustle are things I’ve lived for, but at this point, maybe it’s time to stop pretending I could make it in NYC anymore. It wasn’t like I had a support system either. No family left and no friends to speak of.  I hadn’t even been on a date in the last two years. My social life revolved mostly around my interactions with my landlord, none of which were pleasant.  I heard that she was so happy I was leaving apparently she even threw me a goodbye party.. After I left. I lived for my work, but things had been so hard lately. Maybe It was time for me to give up.  Maybe it was time for me to start over. “Ma’am, that’s all good and fine, but we’re here.”  Ajeet said while simultaneously unlocking the doors. I hadn’t realized we’d even stopped… or that I was talking outloud.  I guess it had been awhile since I’d been around other people. I started to open the door before even looking at where I was. When I did, I pulled it back shut. “This can’t be right,”  I mumbled, fumbling for my phone to pull up the address I’d been given.  I was sure I was supposed to be in front of a house, my new house, or, I don’t know, anything, but instead we sat in a desolate parking lot on the outskirts of what was hopefully the correct town at least. Though it looked anything but Christmassy. In front of me, bloomed an industrial complex with a small collection of seemingly long abandoned warehouses and factories.  I felt a jolt of fear ping through my body.  It was quiet here, too quiet. Quiet enough for me to be raped and murdered without anyone noticing. “This is as far as I can take you,” I jumped as I realized Ajeet was already grabbing my luggage from the trunk. “What? Why?” So no murder then? “It’s a small town and a beautiful day.  Why not take a nice stroll through town on your way? I think the farmer’s market goes till 3..” He dodged. “No.. I-I don’t want to walk and it’s 30 degrees!” I said while repositioning the luggage he’d removed back into the uber,  “I just want you to finish driving me. What’s the big deal, it’s your job for christ’s sake!” Ajeet paused. “Listen, I don’t go in there. Tiny Christmas is not a town for people like me” He pointed to his turban. “They’re racist…?” “I don’t know what you want to call it, but I just don’t want to spend the afternoon stuck there while they try to convert me… again.  Last time I didn’t even get to take a lunch break and I’m really hungry today, so you’re on your own.” He said as he finished re-removing my luggage. “Like I said, small town, very friendly, I’m sure you’ll have no problem finding the place.” “W-well, I personally respect the Islamic religion” I chased him as he walked back around to the drivers side door and pulled it open, “I’ll even buy you lunch, how’s that?!” “Nope. Therapist said I need to start defining my boundaries or people are going to walk all over me for the rest of my life, “He slammed the door and pressed the lock down, “Enjoy your stay in Tiny Christmas, I’m sure you’ll have a wonderful time.” With that he and his Nissan Altima, pulled out of the lot. “Wait! You can’t be serious!!” “And I’m Sikh, you asshole!” He called back as he sped away. I stood there shivering in the cold, confused and becoming increasingly angry at my predicament. “No, you’re the asshole,” I grumbled as I grabbed my luggage and resigned myself to walking into town. As I’d mentioned before, I was basically left to fend for myself in an abandoned wasteland.  A beautiful young woman such as myself should not have to subject herself to such a dangerous situation.  I pushed through the dystopian scenery with a confident stride, preparing myself for whatever unsavory situation lay ahead of me.  However when I finally rounded the last warehouse, I was not prepared for what I saw. Ahead of me, across a set of train tracks, lay the most adorable little downtown I had ever laid my eyes on.  As I walked onward the air became filled with the scent of pine, cinnamon, and roasted chestnuts.  The streets were packed with happy looking townsfolk, each one going out of their way to say hello as I passed. And Ajeet was right, there was a farmers market! As nice as this all was, I have to admit I was a little uncomfortable with the level of friendliness and Christmas I was experiencing. I felt a bit of guilt well up inside me for not immediately being drawn into the merriness. I managed to brush it off quickly, though.  I wasn’t wrong, they were the ones that were wrong. As I slowly became increasingly annoyed at the pleasantries I happened upon a coffee shop. “Welcome to Christmas Coffee!” An overweight elderly woman hollered in an alarmingly cheery tone as the door jingled closed behind me. "Would you be able to point me in the direction of 616 Pine St?" I am an unemployed graphic designer with no chit chat skills. "Oh! I know who you are! You're the new window display coordinator from the big city!" "Well yes, and I'm running late--" "Oh sweetie, you look just about chilled to the bone! Did some ethnic cab driver refuse to take you the whole way?" She asked. I wondered how common of a thing that was. "Here you go," she poured a cup of coffee and slid it to me "free coffee, on the house! I'm Amanda by the way." I took the coffee avoiding her outstretched arm, "that's really very nice of you, I'll be sure to stop back when I'm settled, but I'm running late right now, so.." Yeah, I was never coming back. "Oh right, 616 Pine was it? Make a left then it's two blocks down. You couldn't even miss it if you wanted to!" I thanked her and sped out the door before she could continue to waste my time. I took a sip of the coffee as I walked out into the holiday pandemonium and stopped dead as the warmth hit my tongue. This was... the best cup of coffee I'd ever had in my life. It was rich and full bodied with notes of cinnamon, allspice, and honey. It brought back a flood of childhood memories. Drinking hot chocolate after school as my mother brushed the snow out of my hair, watching movies huddled by the fire, my mothers warmth as she rocked me to sleep. God, I missed her. If only, I thought, I could have something like that again in a real, non coffee based sense.. Wait, what was I thinking? I am a powerful, competent, unemployed graphic designer.  I’d never wish for a family, I convinced myself, brushing the tears from my eyes.  I went to take another sip of coffee, but I was beginning to feel nauseous, so instead I dropped it in the next available garbage can. Amanda was right, this place was hard to miss. Two blocks down was almost a full mile away and basically in the woods. The quant tutor with 616 scrolled across the door was the only building on the entire street. As I walked up the driveway, I realized how eerily quiet it had become. I hadn’t seen a single car pass me in the last half mile.  I shivered as the wind whipped up, this was the perfect place for an unsuspecting young woman to be raped and murdered. I was all alone.. No wait, I was being watched. “Well hello there, Rachel!” I jumped as the door of the house popped open to reveal a smiling middle aged man in a suit. “Oh. oh, hi…” I tried to collect myself, “You must be--” “Correct! I’m Jake from the agency, so glad you were able to find your way here! I was getting a little worried that you hadn’t been able to find a ride into town.” “Funny you should say that---” “Anyway, this is the place!” He cut me off, holding the door open beckoning me inside. The interior, despite having a certain charm, was covered in a layer of dust and white sheets. The air had a musty quality that signaled that this place had been long forgotten. I sighed, I do not like cleaning. “As mentioned earlier,” he continued, “it’s $250/month and you’re responsible for paying all utilities as well as any yard work or snow removal that needs to be done. Also, I think there are Christmas lights in the basement so you won't even need to buy any to decorate.” “I won’t be needing them, but thank you, I just want to settle in.” “Oh,” He seemed crushed, “Well, they’re there in case you change your mind.  It would probably go a long way to making the place feel like home.” “Umm thanks… well, how long has it been vacant?” I slid my fingers through the dust on the fireplace mantle and almost gagged at the many years of dead skin cells. “‘Bout five years, I think?” “That’s.. Why so long?” “I couldn’t really tell you, I’m just a real estate agent, I don’t own it or anything,” He shrugged. “Oh.” “Well, I mean, if I had to guess, maybe it was the murders.” “Murders?” I parrotted. See! I knew I was going to be raped and killed! “Sorry, I misspoke, disappearances is what I mean. It’s not really murder without a body.” Jake said matter of factly, “But anyway, that was a long time ago and I heard that tenant was like, really into meth, so it was likely drug related.” “Wait, didn’t you say---” “Anyway, here are the keys,” He handed them to me while also turning the doorknob “You should be good to go! Have a wonderful life in Tiny Christmas!” And with that he was already halfway down the walk. “...Murders?”

I had an unremarkable first night despite wondering just how many “disappearances” Jake had accidentally inferred. I tried not to concentrate on it too much, I was starting my new job the next morning after all.

Holidays And More! occupied the largest building in town. It was two floors of highly polished marble and glass. The first floor held the perfect area for a window display, but was currently empty. “This will be my canvas,” I thought.  I put my hand up to the glass wistfully only to have it slapped from the otherside of the glass by a burly man with a beard.  I jumped back and he let out a chuckle and motioned me to come inside. “I’m Mr. Santan the general manager,” The burly man explained, giving me a firm handshake. “Great to meet you in person. Thank you so much for the job.” “We’re just so pleased you accepted it.  The entire board was unanimous in the decision to hire you. Your plan for a Christmas display that gets us back to our roots is genius!” “Thank--” Before I could finish he pulled me in for a hug. “Say no more, Ms. Adler, we’re just so happy we can add you, another true believer of the magic of Christmas, to our wonderful family!” He said while patting me on the back. I recoiled slightly and he seemed to catch my discomfort and let me go.  “Sorry, I just love Christmas so much, I get carried away sometimes.” “Thats… I just, I should probably get to work, right?” I deflected. “Oh, of course!  There’s only two weeks till the big reveal after all. I’m sure every second counts.”  Mr. Santan led me over to my workspace and introduced me to my assistant, Tom Thompson, a tall and slightly too handsome man in a red vest. I felt.. Uncomfortable looking at him for too long, like I might, I don’t know, blush if I did? “You know Tom, you could take notes from Ms. Adler here,” Mr. Santan said before leaving, “Up your holiday game a little and maybe you’ll be the next one promoted!” Tom looked towards me and let out a little sigh, “Yes sir.”

On that first day, we spent most of our time going through boxes, taking inventory of what supplies the store already had so I’d know what we would need to buy. “So,” I broke the silence, “Mr. Santan wants you to up your holiday game, eh?” “Yeah, I guess he’s noticed I haven’t been my normal cheery self for that last.. Couple years” He seemed as surprised by that timeline as I did. “That’s a long time not to be happy.” Like I’d know what happy was.  I was a weirdly employed graphic designer caught in what was increasingly feeling like a low budget Christmas movie. “I guess so, I just haven’t been myself since my wife died.” Ohh, he was single and not even the divorced kind!  Widowed, the good kind of single! I stopped going through the box of christmas lights, my hands were shaking. “Yeah, it was really tragic. She hit a deer..”  He was going on about his dead wife, but all I could concentrate on was my own heartbeat as it began to speed up.  Why did I care if this guy was single? What was happening to me? I concentrated on regaining my composure.  I just needed to take it easy. This had been a big move, a huge change, and I’d lost my bearings. It was perfectly reasonable that I would feel confused and even want to fit in. Things would get less weird once I was used to my surroundings. “...and that’s when we took her off life support.” Oh god, he was still going, “I just don’t think I’ll ever really love anyone again, you know?” “I get it, but you’re young, you’ll meet someone again when you’re ready.” I tried to console.  He blushed slightly. “You’re a really good listener, you know? Hey! Would you like to come over for dinner on Sunday? We make a big meal after church so it’s always nice to have some extra company.” “Oh no, no, I don’t want to impose, we don’t really know each other and--” “Please? Think of it as me repaying your kindness for letting me dump all my problems on you like this.” He begged. “Well, when you put it that way, sure.”

After a relatively uneventful week, I awoke from a particularly weird nightmare at 3am Saturday morning to the sound of talking. Frustrated and groggy, I did what any good New Yorker would.  I pushed the window open with a level of violence that this house had probably never seen and leaned out into the dark. “Shut the fuck up or I’ll fucking come down there murder you!” I yelled, the, slammed the window shut, and lay back down. It was quiet for a minute, but then, was that chanting? By that point my complete consciousness had returned and I realized that I was no longer in an apartment, I was in a house.  I was in a completely isolated house. No one should be outside. I lay there in silence, trying to get a grasp on what I was hearing. Chanting? Crying? Maybe it was a wild animal, I thought. I’d heard foxes kind of sound like people. I honestly didn’t want it to be people or animals, both seemed like they could be dangerous and for the first time since the day I’d moved in, I considered what the word “disappearances” could possibly mean. After what may have been hours the strange noises dissipated, but I did not sleep for the rest of the night. In the morning, I decided maybe I would put up those Christmas lights. The house had no exterior lighting at all and seeing as it had sat unoccupied, there was a chance someone could still think it was vacant and try to break in.. if the noises I’d heard were people anyway.  If it was foxes or wolves or something, the light should deter them too. Despite being opposed to my core beliefs, I’d do it for my safety. I found a box with one whole strand of lights in it in the basement. Just enough to do the awning out front.  I figured it was better than nothing and it also meant I didn’t have to spend all day putting them up, so win win. There was however, another box in the basement.  I’d thought it was more Christmas decorations originally since there was a piece of garland at the top, but when I brought it upstairs I realized that what I had really found was a gun. A shotgun of some sort, to be more specific. Along with it was a little box with just a few bullets in it, seven, I counted. I’d never really handled a gun before and felt conflicted about realizing that it had been in the house with me for the last week. Who’s was it and why would they leave it, anyway?  Shit, for all I knew, all houses in Iowa came with guns.  After some careful contemplation and youtube videos, I decided to keep it by the door, loaded, in case I did end up running into whatever I had heard the night prior. When I heard the noises again that night, I at least managed to convince myself I could protect myself and got the smallest bit of sleep. By the time Tom came to pick me up on Sunday, I was already exhausted and a little jumpy. “You look tired, are you ok?” He asked as I fastened my seatbelt. His genuine concern made my heart feel all warm for some reason. “Yeah, just insomnia.” “I used to have that real bad when Joanne first died.  It’s hard being in that house all alone, huh?” “Not really. Why would it be hard?” “I just guess I find being alone really difficult. Everyone needs someone to hold at night.” He informed me. Was he suggesting he wanted to hold me at night? We arrived at his parents' lovely little colonial only a few minutes later.  I may have neglected to say this, but he’d been living with his family since his wife died.  I thought it was a little weird, but I also knew grief could really mess up a person, so it was better I didn’t judge. Anyway, the house was all decked out in a literal ton of blinking christmas lights, outside and in. It was really too distracting and tacky for my taste. His mom and dad hugged me immediately as we entered and thanked me for taking such good care of their son. Did they think we were a couple?  Did I want us to be a couple? What? No! We had a nice dinner and his family told me stories about what Tom was like growing up. After dinner they wanted to sing Christmas carols so his mom gathered us around the piano as his father played. I don’t know any full carols, but I managed to stumble through alright. We laughed a lot. It was.. It was really nice to feel like I was part of something again. It made me miss my parents terribly.  I wanted so much to feel safe and loved like that again. Maybe, I thought, just maybe the Thompsons could be my new family. Maybe this place could be my new something to be a part of. We kissed my driveway before I got out of the car.  He told me he was falling for me. Maybe I was falling for him too.

I woke up in pure panic at 3am. I wasn’t even aware of why I was so scared for a minute until the events of the evening came back to me. Something was terribly wrong with me. And the noises were back.

The next week was crunch time. We had to make this display the most wonderful the town had ever seen. We could do it, I knew we could. Tom and I spent most of our waking hours together making sure everything was perfect for the big reveal on Friday night. Well, he spent most of his waking hours, I mean. He was probably sleeping, I was still hearing those weird noises. However, I was beginning to think that living in the country just meant hearing unexplained sounds at night. It was nothing to worry about and I had that gun just in case, which I’d decided to leave by my front door indefinitely. Plus, Tom and I were considering moving in together, so he would be able to protect me. Everything was ok. Everything was better than expected. Friday went wonderfully. Mr. Santan praised us both and offered me a permanent position which I gladly accepted.  I invited Tom over that evening to celebrate. “So are you going back to NYC for Christmas?” He asked me as we cuddled on the couch. Christmas was just five days away, wasn’t it? “Nah, I’m just gonna get some Chinese food and watch movies.” “That sounds really sad, Rachel, you should come over to my house. We always decorate our tree on Christmas eve then we do presents in the morning. You can sleep over, it’ll be fun!” He suggested. “My family loves you, so I’m sure they’d be so happy to have you.” “That sounds really nice, but actually, I think I just want to take it easy.” “Oh.” His expression fell. “No, it’s not like that, but I’ve…” I needed to be honest with the man I loved, “I’ve been lying to you. I’m not..” There was that chanting again. “Lying?” He asked, but then saw the fear on my face. “What’s wrong?” “Do you hear that? What is that?” I said in a whisper, my voice shaking. Tom listened for a second.  “The singing? That’s carolers isn’t it?” I held my breath to try to ascertain what I was hearing.  It was getting closer this time. Tom was right.  It was people singing. “Carolers” I breathed. “Yup, the weekend before Christmas they go out and sing at people’s houses.  Didn’t you have that in New York?” I shook my head. Had this been what I was hearing the whole time? Carolers practicing somewhere? “It sounds like they’re right outside.” I jumped as the doorbell rang, but convinced myself it was ok to answer it. Outside were seven of the townsfolk decked out in Christmasy attire. As soon as they saw me they began to sing. I wasn’t familiar with the song, but it was just so beautiful that tears started coming to my eyes. Here I’d been all worked up about people singing Christmas songs. This wasn’t NYC, nothing was going to try to hurt me here, no one had been anything but kind to me. I stood in the doorway listening for a long time, just taking in the joy. I let the New Yorker part of me fade. It was ok now, I was ok. Maybe I should go get some money for them or something, I thought. That was the least I could do for this kind of spiritual awakening, right?  I was about to turn around to find my purse when something stopped me.  I stopped me. What the fuck was I doing? I was a savvy fucking new yorker, I didnt need this dumb shit. This wasn’t even what I wanted..at all. What was I even doing with this boring, sad guy? I didn’t even like men and I hated Christmas carols! “Hey can you guys that's enough, you can stop now.”  I pleaded. "Really, please stop." No one seemed to hear me. I felt a deep primal fear rise up in my stomach. I needed to lie down or something. I needed them to stop singing already.  “Tom, can you--” I turned around just in time to see Tom lunge at me with a weird looking knife. Instinctively, I dodged and pushed him to the ground. I am a New Yorker who knows how to defend myself. I grabbed the shotgun. “Awwwww” The carolers grumbled in unison. “What the fuck is going on here?!?” I spat, clenching my weapon tightly. “You ruined everything, that’s what.” One of them moaned. I pointed my gun at the small crowd, “Are you trying to “disappear” me? Is that what this is?” “You know Tom, if you hadn’t waited so long…” One of them began.  Tom was now sulking on the ground behind me.  I was waving the gun wildly between him and the carolers now. “I just wanted it to be perfect, I’m sorry guys.” Tom shrugged. “She’s gonna taste like shit now. Adrenaline fucks everything up,” another said. “Will someone please tell me what’s going on!?” I shouted. “Tell me or I kill every one of you!” Tom sighed, “We were just trying to teach you the true meaning of Christmas.” “By killing me?!” “Of course not. Think of all the love we showed you these past couple weeks, that’s the true meaning of Christmas!” I recognized this one, it was the woman from the Cafe. “We know you felt it, we could tell.” “Felt it? This- this isn’t me! What did you.. Have you been putting something in my food?” “Aw, sweetie, don’t be so paranoid, everything we gave you was simply made with love, something you’ve been sorely lacking.” Amanda explained. “Well, that and just a tiny bit of LSD.” The others nodded in agreement. “You fucking dosed me with LSD?!” “What we did, Rachel, was give you the best two weeks of your life and we even got you back in touch with your religion!” said Mr. Santan. “My what?!” “Now you can die happily!” Tom chimed in, now standing over me again with that knife, smiling manickly. “I’m Jewish you assholes!” I screamed and shot a bullet into Tom’s confused looking face. His body thudded to the floor. “Oh man! How are we gonna explain this to everyone?” they whined as I turned my gun back on them, “Can we even sacrifice a Jew?” “You’re not sacrificing anyone.  If you try, I’ll blow all of your goddamn brains out.” I threatened, holding the shotgun mere inches from them, but they ignored my warning and continued discussing my murder, like I wasn’t even there. Fucking rude townies. “It’s not ideal, but where are we gonna find a christian this close to the ceremony?” Santan explained, “A Jew is probably better than nothing. Even if she is all upset and will probably taste like sadness.” “Hey! I bet I taste just fine!” What was I saying? I did probably taste like sadness. But that wasn’t the point, they were trying to kill me! I knew if I wanted to survive the night and ever see my actual home again, I was going to have to stand my ground and take those fuckers out then and there. I broke their disagreement with a single shot, fired directly into the chest of the weirdo closest to me. He fell to the ground in a motionless heap. That was finally the motivation the rest needed to actually come at me. But I was the one with the gun. “What? You’re not even going to try to rape me first?” I shouted as I fired mercilessly into them. Turns out it isn’t actually that hard to shoot people when they’re that close to you. I don’t know if I killed them all, but I certainly shot them enough to make it so they’d have a hard time chasing me if they survived. I ran as far away as I could get before calling you.  I don’t know if others are coming for me, but I’ll be ready if they do. I would have called the police, but I’m sure they’re in on it. You were right, that town is crazy. ”

Ajeet let out a sigh. How many times, he wondered, was he going to help someone flee from a crime scene? This couldn’t be worth the money. He’d be better off working for one of those takeout services. Yeah, he was going to sign up once he got home. No more transporting crazy people, just transporting food to crazy people.  “Wait, weren’t there 8 of them total?” He asked hoping this didn’t set her off,  “Didn’t you say that gun only had seven bullets? Doesn’t that mean you missed one?” Rachel thought for a second. Nope, she’d definitely shot 8 cultists, she’d counted. “I guess you could call it a Hanukkah miracle,” she giggled. Ajeet let out a fake laugh, not sure what she meant. “So.. airport then?” “Yeah, please.”

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Ep.59 – Christmas Rage! - Santa Has an Axe and He's Coming!

Episode Notes

It's Christmas Eve and a maniac has gone crazy with an axe, killing anyone that crosses his path... However there is an ever more dangerous predator out on the streets and they aren't out caroling...

Christmas Rage by Rob Fields

Music by Ray Mattis http://raymattispresents.bandcamp.com

Produced by Daniel Wilder

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December 23rd – Evening

Strickfield Towne Centre Mall only seemed to be a hopping place around the holidays. The vacancies left during the usual ten months out of the year were mostly filled by seasonal stores. There was even a Santa Claus House in the mall’s center court. Families would line up with their children, many of whom had Christmas lists to give to Santa. But on this day, things were about to take a macabre turn . . . Santa Claus had just taken his seat on his throne. Templeton Mirren, the owner of the mall, and his family were right there in front of him. Santa just sat there and looked right at them. Templeton appeared to be patient. When Santa’s silence got to be too much, Templeton leaned in and whispered loudly, “If you don’t get your act together, Stanley, you’ll be enjoying this Christmas on your fucking welfare check!” Stanley Monroe was always tapped to play Santa Claus from Black Friday until Christmas Eve at Strickfield Towne Centre Mall. But as Santa slowly stood up and glared at Templeton Mirren and his family, he seemed to have a foreboding presence. Then, Santa opened the door to his house and received several screams when the slain, bloody body of Stanley Monroe just fell onto the porch. The families scattered in different directions. Santa took his time as he reached inside the house and pulled out the same bloody ax that he had used on Stanley earlier. Then he marched toward Templeton Mirren, raising his lethal weapon. Templeton Mirren turned and yanked a nearby father right in front of the Santa. The father never uttered a peep as Santa buried the blade right in his head. The other bystanders were too frightened to see what Templeton Mirren had done. They never saw him or his wicked wife grab their children and leave. From there, Santa pulled the ax out of the father’s head and buried it in another bystander as It Came Upon a Midnight Clear slowly began to play over the mall speakers. 

Christmas Eve Morning

I awaken in a different room and remember that I’m here at Franklin Sloane’s house. Franklin invited me to come home with him for Christmas. Franklin and I have been seeing each other since late August. In fact, he’s been my only companion this semester. After I take a shower and get dressed, I hear arguing downstairs. I make my way down and stop short when I hear that I’m the topic of discussion. Actually, it’s more like Franklin’s parents are giving him a hard time about me. The more I listen, I more I hear his father, Joseph, and his stepmother, Delphine, just discouraging him. His dad tells him there’s no way that a ‘big-titted puttana’ like me would ever care for him. They tell him that I’m just using him for my own selfish ends. Franklin argues back and tells them that I’m nothing like that. He tells them that we’ve been seeing each other since the beginning of the fall semester. He asks them what I could possibly be using him for. Here’s the irony. I am using Franklin, but not for the reasons his parents are implying. They think I’m with him for money, or that I’m waiting to humiliate him. I’m fully aware that people look at Franklin and decide that he’s the biggest nerd there is. Do you have any idea how many times I’ve heard people whisper that to each other when they think I’m not listening? I even hear those same people wondering how someone like me would even be with Franklin. Delphine tells Franklin that I’m way too beautiful for him. She even tells Franklin that I would never have sex with him, that people like me belong with fraternity boys. Yes, I certainly could have had my pick of a fraternity boy, or even a jock. The problem with those types of guys is that they would only want to have sex with me just for a short time. They would not want to commit to me. No, I need much more than they’re willing to give. For those of you who haven’t been following me since the beginning . . . From the time I came into the world, I have never felt so much as a single emotion. Perhaps my being emotionless is why I’m a serial killer. Your society has labeled me the Angel of Death, because I destroy those who prey on innocent people. I suppose the closest thing to emotions that I feel is my ever-insistent bloodlust, which pushes me onward to claim my victims. In fact, I’m feeling the urgent need to kill right now. I make my way to the dining room. The family doesn’t hear me come in until I’m right there, right when Franklin yells at Delphine, “That’s your problem. You always think everybody’s out to get me. Well, Raige isn’t like that!” Franklin becomes quiet when he realizes I’m here. The family is just looking at me now. “Perhaps I should just go,” I say. “Clearly, I’m not wanted or welcome here. I’ll just get my things and go back to my dorm.” Delphine looks sternly at me. “You heard everything?” I nod once. “I did. And you’re wrong about me.” I fold my arms in front of me. “Please, enlighten me. What do I hope to gain by using Franklin?” Delphine takes a deep breath. “Do you see yourself, Raigen? Do you see Franklin? Do you see how completely mismatched the two of you are? You can have any man you want. Why would you settle for Franklin?” While I myself don’t have emotions, I have come to understand a great deal about how emotions can move people, both positively and negatively. Watching enough television and being around Mama long enough will do that for someone like me. “So, let me get this straight . . . just because I’m a beautiful girl and Franklin’s a nerd, I would not want to be with someone like him? Then . . . why would I date Franklin? Why would I agree to come home with him for Christmas?” Delphine glares at me now. “Well, I don’t know. Why don’t you tell us?” “I agreed to come here with Franklin, because he asked me to,” I reply. “I wasn’t going home for Christmas, and Franklin didn’t want me to be alone. I’m thinking he invited me out of the kindness of his heart. That’s why I choose to be with Franklin. He’s kind to me. He’s never once tried to take advantage of me. I enjoy his company.” I unfold and lower my arms. “I can’t believe that you and your husband would cut Franklin down like this. Especially you – a church minister.” Delphine took over being the minister of Strickfield Community Church after the scandal with Minister Darren Harlow years ago. Yes, it’s the usual type of scandal you read about – with children. After Harlow was removed, Delphine became the new minister. She had to work very hard to keep the church going, but she managed to do it. I was a freshman in high school when this happened, by the way. Delphine’s been quite strict on Franklin ever since, according to what he’s told me about her and from what I’ve just witnessed. I put a comforting hand on Franklin’s shoulder. “Are you all right?” Franklin shakes his head. “Can we just leave, Raige?” “Yes! Yes, we can!” I reply. “Go pack a few things and we can have Christmas at my dorm.” Franklin leaves the dining room. His parents only glare at me before I turn and head back up to the guestroom to pack my things. You’re thinking that I want to kill them both, right? Nope! They’re both innocent, so I can’t kill them. Ah, yes . . . Now we’re getting to what I want to tell you. I currently have an even greater need to satisfy – even more than my need to kill. Now, while I don’t feel anything emotional, I do feel things that are physical. I know when I need to eat, drink, sleep, clean my body, seek comfort . . . I did say that I’m looking to use Franklin. As of late, I’m feeling the need to have sex. I was able to get by for many years without having to fulfill this basic need. Now my sex drive is becoming as insistent as my bloodlust. It’s because of this that I’ve come to realize that I need a mate, a constant companion. I need someone who can be good company for me and satisfy my sexual desires when the need arises. In turn, I would be just as responsive to my mate. Would you call me a primal girl, in spite of my highly developed brain? Perhaps you would be right. Franklin Sloane is one of the few young men at Strickfield University who has taken an interest in me. Over time, he has shown me that he is both a suitable companion and an intellectual peer. I really don’t care that Franklin is a skinny nerd who talks about chess or contemporary movies. I don’t even care that the rest of you in the female population are repulsed by him. Unlike you, I don’t have it me to be repulsed by him. On the other hand, I don’t even have it in me to be able to love him. Regardless, Franklin has proven himself to be a suitable companion for me, and my desire is for him to be my mate. Franklin comes and gets me. “You ready, Raige?” “Yes, we can go.” We head downstairs and to the front door. Before we leave, Franklin turns to his parents. “I really thought we were going to have a normal family Christmas this time, even with my bringing Raige. But I can see that’s never going to happen. Come on, Raige, let’s go.” Once more, Franklin’s parents and I exchange looks. Then I turn and leave with Franklin. 

Franklin is settled in my dorm room; I didn’t have a roommate during the fall semester. The only reason I’m allowed to stay over the holiday break is because I’m attending classes here at Strickfield University next semester. Franklin looks pretty down. “I’m sorry you had to see that back home, Raige.” We’re both sitting on our beds. I reach across and take his hands. “May I say something?” He raises his eyes to mine. “Sure.” “I know you’re probably having your doubts about me. Please don’t. I really do want to be with you.” “But why, Raige? Why are you still with me? Delphine’s right, you can have any man you want.” I could ramble to Franklin about why I want him, but I have learned that actions can speak a lot for a person. Still holding his hands, I move across to Franklin’s bed. Then we kiss. The more we get into our kiss, the more I’m feeling that I can’t hold back anymore. I need him so desperately. I let go of his hands. Franklin is surprised when he sees me stand up and take my clothes off. Once I’m naked, I pull back the covers on my bed and lay down to face him. “It’s just you and me, Franklin. The dorm is all ours. I want to take this next step with you. If you do too, then come and be with me. I only want and desire you, Franklin.” Franklin trusts me enough to where he knows I’m sincere. He removes his clothes and climbs into my bed with me. 

Christmas Eve – Late Afternoon The Strickfield Community Center was always a place where parents could bring their children on Christmas Eve for things such as Christmas stories, Christmas cakes and cookies, hot chocolate, and visiting with Santa. It had been just as much of a tradition as the fact that each and every house in Strickfield would be decorated to make the village look like a winter wonderland, with the exception of the walled off property that belonged to the Mirrens. In fact, Delphine Brewster-Sloane helped run the establishment along with a few other mothers. Delphine was making more mugs of hot chocolate when Mrs. Patterson walked into the kitchen. She gave Delphine a look of desperation. “Mary? What’s wrong? Hasn’t our Santa arrived yet?” Delphine asked. Mary Patterson reached out, stopped motionless for a moment, then fell flat on her face to reveal the ax that was sticking out of her back. Delphine screamed! Then she looked up and screamed even louder as a blood-stained Santa Claus stormed in and retrieved the ax from Mary Patterson’s back. Santa looked right at Delphine and watched her scream when he drew back the ax. Somehow, she forced herself to duck. When the ax blade became embedded in a cupboard, Delphine shoved Santa down and ran out. Delphine tried to yell for everyone to leave – quickly. The shrilling scream of the Santa Claus From Hell overshadowed the soft Christmas music. Then more screams overshadowed Santa’s as he chased after people while swinging the ax, sinking it into a few more parents. Delphine grabbed a folding chair and moved at Santa to try and keep him from killing any more parents – or even children. Santa howled with rage and disarmed Delphine with a few hard swings of the ax. Santa shoved her down and raised the ax for the kill. Delphine held her hands up and screamed as her life flashed right before her eyes. 

Christmas Eve Evening I awaken and know that Franklin and I are spooned up together. We spent much of the afternoon having sex. Franklin has definitively proven to be my chosen mate as he satisfied my every desire. I in turn focused to satisfy his. Then we fell asleep together. My need for sex is satisfied for the time being. However, my need to kill is as urgent as ever. I manage to slip out of bed. Franklin is still fast asleep. I need to go out and prowl for a kill. Since it’s Christmas Eve, I don’t really think I’m going to find anyone. I may end up having to wait until the day after Christmas to look for somebody. My bloodlust is demanding satisfaction, but I’m not going to take an innocent to do it. I get dressed and grab my smartphone. I leave the dorm and begin my walk around Strickfield. If Franklin texts me, I’ll just tell him that I’m picking up food for us from either Andy’s China Garden or Denoyer’s Grill downtown, which are always open. If I had emotions, I’m sure it would simply amaze me at how this village goes all out for many holidays, including Christmas. Every house is decorated and lit brightly. Some of the yards even have animatronics. In spite of all this, I still continue to feel my constant numbness. It isn’t long before I hear the sounds of police cars in the distance. I decide to go and see what’s going on. I know I’m only a police intern, which is why I’m not being called. Strickfield P.D. only calls me when it comes to detective work. If there are that many police cars, it’s probably something more dire that doesn’t require detective work. Just the same, I’m going to go and see for myself. When I get to the scene, the Strickfield Community Center, Mayor Patrick Gunter recognizes me and waves for me to come over. “I know you’ve been helping the police, but this doesn’t require you tonight.” “Can you at least tell me what’s going on?” I ask. Mayor Gunter tells me that there’s an escaped lunatic from Glennview Asylum inside the building wearing a Santa Claus suit and killing people left and right. He mentions how this Santa left bodies all over center court at Strickfield Towne Centre Mall last night. As Mayor Gunter keeps talking, my bloodlust is going crazy – commanding me to claim this Santa! Just what Mayor Gunter tells me alone is enough to where I don’t have to do my usual research. But the question now is how do I get inside the Community Center without the police seeing me? Then I immediately have a plan and proceed with its execution. I say good-bye to Mayor Gunter and wish him a good holiday. 

I know the village of Strickfield very well, thanks to all of the maps on hand at the police station, including the one for the sewer system. Because of my highly photographic memory, I immediately remembered the way into the Community Center through the sewer tunnels. I open a manhole cover down in the crawlspace where the shower pipes are located and come out that way. After putting the cover back on, I begin my hunt for this Santa. My bloodlust is nagging at me now. It doesn’t take me long to locate Santa. He’s got a few women trapped in the kitchen. And then I immediately recognize Franklin’s stepmother as one of them. When we started seeing each other, Franklin told me that Delphine volunteers her time here when she’s not being the minister for the Strickfield Community Church. It looks as though Delphine got beat up, but she’s still alive. I know that Franklin would be devastated if anything were to happen to his parents. The two of them put Franklin down, and yet he still thinks the world of them. I literally don’t understand it. Just the same, I know I’ve got to do something to save these people. Santa never says a word. He just glares at the eight women he’s holding hostage. He even raises his ax and brings it down in front of them, making them shriek or scream. Even I understand how cowardly it is for an empowered male to attack a helpless female. I tighten my fists as my bloodlust now screams for me take!! His!! Fucking!! Life!! I must use my head. I can’t just go in there and fight him. It would be different if Santa wasn’t toying with those women. Then I move stealthily into the kitchen. He doesn’t see me as I carefully slide open a drawer and pull out a kitchen knife. All I have to do is just draw it back . . . then I’ll fling it right into his back. As I raise the knife for the kill, I get a texting chime on my smartphone and know it’s from Franklin. That throws off my plan as Santa turns and sees me with my knife raised. He screams and rushes right at me. Delphine is surprised to see me now. “Raigen, no!” she cries out. When Santa reaches me, he swings the ax wildly. I quickly hit the floor and feel the rush of the blade going right over the back of my head. As I quickly turn onto my back, Santa raises his ax and brings it down. I turn over again and hear it hit the floor. I get to my feet and kick Santa in the back of the knee to take his leg out from underneath him. Santa growls and falls to the floor. I still have the knife in my hand. Before I can raise it to stab him, Delphine surprises both of us by crying out and ripping the ax away from Santa. “Raigen, get out of here! Now!” Delphine cries. Santa quickly gets back to his feet. Then he reaches out and grabs the ax, having a struggle with Delphine. I don’t see the other women that were with Delphine and determine that she must have gotten them out while I was distracting Santa. I’m definitely ready to stab Santa now, but I know that I can’t let Delphine . . . Wait a minute! She won’t know that I’m a serial killer. Killing Santa would just be a matter of my helping Delphine. Neither Delphine nor Santa can see what must be the evil glow in my eyes that all of my past victims have seen. All I have to do is move up behind Santa. Delphine will be splattered with his blood once I slice his throat. But common sense gets the better of me. I can’t let Delphine see just how violent I can truly become. She might tell Franklin, and I would possibly lose my mate. I have another idea. I quickly make my way around to where Santa can easily see me. “Hey!” Santa’s eyes are on me as I pull my Christmas sweater up and show him my large breasts. “Peekaboobies!!” His eyes are locked right on my breasts, which gives Delphine the advantage. She yanks the ax out of Santa’s hands and swings it to catch him right in the gut. He groans and stands for a long moment. I pull my sweater down as Delphine removes the ax and nails him one more time before he finally goes down. I quickly pull out my smartphone and call the police. I get Mayor Gunter and tell him that everything’s all right and that Santa’s slayed. My bloodlust is screaming at me for a fresh victim, but . . . I had to give my kill to Delphine to keep my secret. Delphine and I are alone now after I finish talking to Mayor Gunter. She turns to me and gives me a stern look. “Really, Raigen? Showing him your dirty pillows?” I look sternly at her in return. “You are still alive because of my ‘dirty pillows’. Never forget that!” Delphine and I keep glaring at one another. Finally, Delphine softens her expression and sighs. She looks around and moves to make sure that we’re truly alone. I can’t imagine why she would need to do that. She returns to me. “Yes, you did save many lives today, Raigen.” Then she leans in and says quietly, “I know who and what you are. Don’t try and hide it from me. You are the Angel of Death.” Then she backs away to get my reaction. I just look at Delphine. “I think you’re mistaken.” Delphine shakes her head slowly. “I’m not. You don’t know, Raigen, but many years ago you saved many lives that night. Including mine.” Just then, Mayor Gunter comes in with some police officers. He points right at me. “Raigen Devereux! Over here! Now!” Delphine mouths to me, “We’ll talk later.” I nod to her and address Mayor Gunter, who gives me hell for not keeping my distance on the count of my being a college intern. At the same time, he congratulates me on being the hero. Of course, I make sure that Delphine is given her fair share of the credit since I didn’t stop that Santa From Hell alone. 

Christmas Afternoon I look into the eyes of Templeton Mirren after I remove his blindfold. Then I remove his wife’s. I have both of them secured to tables in their basement. Then I remove their gags. “What the fuck is this?!” Destiny Mirren demands. I move to the front where they can see me. I have a remote control in my hand and turn on their television. “I have a little video here that I’d very much like for the two of you to see,” I tell them. I play what is the security camera footage that was taken from the Strickfield Towne Centre Mall. Could I have gotten any more lucky?! Chief Kazmierczak was a little strapped at the station, so he asked me if I’d stick around and go through the security footage from the mall. After texting Franklin and letting him know where I was, I went to the station and looked over the footage. Then I saw the angle to where Templeton Mirren had grabbed an innocent man and pulled him right into the path of the killer Santa, just so he could preserve his own life. His wife had seen what her husband had done and wasn’t concerned in the least. She only moved to get Templeton and the kids out of the mall quickly. Neither Destiny nor Templeton looked back. After finishing the footage, I stop the video and look at them. “Any questions?” “So what?” Destiny groans, looking as annoyed as she sounded. “All this over an insignificant man?” Templeton adds. “It looks to me as if your family could have easily gotten away, but you grabbed that man and pulled him right in front of the killer, guaranteeing his death. In effect, you killed him in cold blood. Your wife saw you and didn’t care, in effect condoning what you did. So now . . . I’m going to claim the both of you. Your children are with their grandparents. I’ve even disabled your cameras and your security system. It’s just us three here.” I even have pictures to display of shady bank records and illegal money laundering. I even found some Dark Net stuff that they were involved in – too much to list here. But seeing this security video – from his own mall – was more than a red flag for me. Normally, I’d have killed them just based on that, but I wanted more to give to the police. After all, these two are from the infamous Mirren family. The two of them are quite emotionless. The only difference between these Mirrens and myself is that I was naturally born without emotions. These two are of great money and privilege, so much that they just stopped caring. I’m wearing a plastic poncho and have an ax cradled in my hands. Oh, wait! It looks as if they do know fear. They see my evil glare and beg for their lives. Oh, but it’s sweet too late for that . . . “Templeton and Destiny Mirren, let the punishment fit the crime!” Destiny screams as I bring the ax right down on her face! And . . . I feel so much better, now that my bloodlust is finally being satiated. 

Christmas Evening Delphine called Franklin and made things right with him. She even told him to bring me back to the house for Christmas dinner. I agreed when he asked me and all was well. Franklin’s dad still gave me distrustful looks, but that was it. Delphine asked me to help her in the kitchen so we could have our little talk. As it turned out, Delphine had indeed discovered my secret. When she said that I had saved the lives of her and many children that night, it was because she had discovered Minister Harlow’s terrible secret. She had tried to stop him on her own using the legal system, but his influence was too strong. She decided that she would bring him down alone, even if it meant breaking the commandment regarding killing. As it turned out, I had read the story about Harlow in our newspaper in North Ridgeway. I came to Strickfield to claim him after I did my research. I broke into Harlow’s house, not knowing that Delphine was already there ahead of me. I ended up finding five children that Harlow had locked up in his basement. I freed them and told them to keep quiet. Harlow wasn’t expecting a high school freshman girl to come for him. After going up to the second floor and beating the living shit out of Harlow, I tied him up to his bed and castrated him. Even then, I remembered Mama’s words about making the punishment fit the crime. Delphine had been hiding in a closet, possibly waiting for the right moment to strike Harlow herself, and discovered that I was the Angel of Death. After cleaning myself up, I gave one of my burner phones to the kids and told them to call the police. Delphine told me that after I had left, she had explained everything to the police – leaving me out of it. Delphine gave me a big hug and thanked me for what I had done, today and back then. She promised me that she would keep my secret. The only thing she asked was for me to not hurt Franklin. I in turn promised her that I wouldn’t. Delphine never so much as gave me – or Franklin – a hard time ever again. 

That night, Franklin and I go back to my dorm. After we have sex, Franklin and I talk. He tells me that he only wants to make me happy. I tell him that I am – well, in my own way. I’m more than content on having Franklin Sloane as my mate, and I tell him that I’m not leaving him. Franklin has a realization. “I have something for you, Raige.” He gets out of bed and brings me a small giftwrapped box. I unwrap and open it to reveal his high school class ring. “It’s not much,” Franklin tells me. “But I know how I feel about you. Maybe Dad and Delphine are right about you being too good for me. But I need to know . . . Raigen Devereux, will you marry me?” “I will,” I say without hesitation. Franklin is speechless in his emotions. But he finally finds himself and puts his ring on my finger. I return the favor by giving him my high school class ring on a necklace. I only wish that I could feel the love that Franklin feels for me. Regardless, I will be a good wife to him as he will be a good husband to me. So . . . this turned out to be a very good Christmas for me after all. Merry Christmas, everyone!

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Ep.58 – Turkey Shoot - Blood thirsty Vengeance is on the Menu!

Episode Notes

On Thanksgiving day something is hungry and loose in a small down and it's not content to be the centerpiece of your dinner anymore. Murderous turkey's are coming, and you pissed them off!

Turkey Shoot by David O'Hanlon

Music by Ray Mattis http://raymattispresents.bandcamp.com

Produced by Daniel Wilder

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The white sheet was a Rorschach test of ruddy blooms across the uneven surface. Sheriff Eldon Hart dabbed VapoRub on his upper lip as he entered the makeshift morgue of Rhoda Baines’ office. It was little more than a meat locker built along the back wall of Country Smiles Dentistry. The tiny township of Fiddler’s Gap rarely needed a morgue—and nestled in the Ozark Mountains, they didn’t call on a dentist much either. Still, between her dental practice and double-duty as county corner, Rhoda’s office stayed busy enough. Deputy Alex Hargrove was new to area. Despite eight years in law enforcement, this was his first corpse and he slathered the VapoRub on his lip into a greasy mustache. Rhoda waved him off when he offered her the jar and she chuckled softly. The sound was somewhere between melodious playfulness and a braying mule and it brought a smile to the stone face of Sheriff Hart. Rhoda snapped on a pair of nitrile gloves and passed the box to the cops who did the same. Hart flipped on the articulated examination light. He nodded to Rhoda who pulled the sheet back like a lounge-act magician clearing a tablecloth from beneath the guests’ glasses. “Whoo!” Deputy Hargrove leaned away. “That’s not what I was expecting.” “Nope,” Hart added, simply. The body was largely held together by the remains of his clothing. The face consisted of a few patches of flesh too stubborn to come off. The eyes were gone, along with the lips which left the tobacco-and-blood-stained teeth grinning around a maw occupied only by the stumpy remains of the victim’s tongue. The spine was a stretch of ashen desert between ravaged muscles with the soft tissue of the throat completely absent. Hart walked along the length of the steel table as he continued his observations. Holes, ranging from pencil-width to fist-sized, dotted the torso and the flannel shirt was in tatters around the wounds. The connective tissue of the left arm had been torn away, leaving the appendage in the sleeve, but no longer attached to the body. The gut was hollowed like a jack-o-lantern. The shredded blue jeans held much of the same. Hart poked his finger into a hole in the man’s thigh and then examined the bare tibia below. “Okay, so what are we looking at here?” he finally asked. “Dead Caucasian male in his thirties. No ID, but he does have a tattoo on his forearm… the part that wasn’t ate, that is.” Rhoda used a sponge to clean the torso. “Foxy found our victim about five this morning and brought him to me. I’ve left him alone, but I did a cursory examination.” “Hell, Foxy shakes like a tweaker in an earthquake. How’d the old fart bring…” Hargrove waved his hand at the body, “this, without it falling apart?” “Carefully.” Rhoda shrugged. “Alright, but what was an old hermit doing out in the woods that early?” the deputy asked. “Foxy hunts turkeys for family’s that can’t afford one for Thanksgiving,” Hart answered. “The Fox family’s done it since the Great Depression. Foxy doesn’t like people, but he cares about them.” He prodded another hole. “What’d you mean by the part that wasn’t ate?” “The soft tissue was destroyed—throat, crook of the arm, belly, eyes. The intestines are missing large portions and some organs are gone in their entirety.” Rhoda took a gauge and measured a puncture wound for their benefit. “These are peck marks.” “Well, shit. I’ll go put out the APB right away.” Hargrove clapped his hands together. “Big ass bird, red thing on his head, answers to Woody.” Hart smirked and then cleared his throat. “Scavengers dig in through the soft spots. Could be vultures found him.” “That was my first thought.” Rhoda rolled the man on his side and raised his shirt. More peck marks and long cuts adorned the flesh. “There’s no lividity, however.” “Meaning?” Hart scratched at his stubble, suddenly wishing he’d stopped to make himself presentable before coming to see Rhoda. He snapped his fingers best the gloves would allow. “Shit! He bled out.” Rhoda bit her lip and smiled. “Precisely. He was either very recently dead or… nevermind, that’s ridiculous.” “Maybe not,” Hargrove said, catching up with Rhoda’s line of thought. “Maybe he fell and knocked himself out cold. Might’ve been in a coma or something and they thought he was dead.” “Perhaps.” Rhoda watched the young deputy for a moment. “Pretty good theory, regardless.” “We need Foxy to take us where he found him.” Hart leaned in to examine the cuts. “This is a murder until we prove otherwise.” Benoit ‘Foxy’ Foxworth III leaned on the tailgate of Chevy C100 with his pipe clenched between his teeth. The truck was four different colors and two shades of rust, putting it at odds with the palatial home beyond. The Foxworths made their money in copper mining and then reinvested in oil which ensured Foxy could live comfortably for twenty lifetimes. Still, he never liked people enough to bother impressing them, so he only kept the truck running at best. The octogenarian sharpened the thin-bladed knife meticulously while he watched the battered Dodge Durango crunch up the gravel drive. Foxy kept the trees clear so he could welcome any guests with a warning shot should they come up uninvited. Foxy set the whetstone down and sheathed the blade before going to meet the officers. “I ain’t kill him,” Foxy said before the window was down all the way. “I didn’t reckon you did.” Hart put the SUV in park and turned his hands over thoughtfully. “Now if he’d been shot, that would be different.” “Well he weren’t.” Foxy stared at the sheriff before sighing and opening the backdoor of the Durango. “If we’re going back out there, you’re taking me to get some groceries on the way back. I forgot bread.” “I think we can manage that.” The ride along the old highway took them by Caroline Marvell’s Dine Inn motel and eatery, which counted as the area’s fine dining. The girl was barely twenty and inherited the establishment after her parents were murdered. She didn’t know much about business, but Hart made sure she turned a profit—any petty offense would be overlooked if you went straight to the Dine Inn and tipped very generously. Caroline waved from the front door as she finished setting up the sandwich board advertising the annual community Thanksgiving dinner that evening. The locals started the tradition when the mines dried up in the last days of the nineteenth century and kept it alive ever since. Hart even made a trip to nearby Marshall to pick up rolls and canned cranberry sauce. It didn’t seem like much of a contribution compared to the work others put in, but no one was hungry enough to eat the Sheriff’s cooking—including him. The general store’s freezer section provided the meals he didn’t get at the diner. “You been to the Dine Inn yet, Alex?” Hart asked. “It’s on my list of things to do, sir.” Hargrove stared out the window at valley just beyond the flimsy guardrail. “You really think it was birds?” “Weird shit happens out here.” Hart slowed for the turn on the old logging road. “Foxy, we going to be able to reach this spot?” “Mostly.” Foxy puffed the sweet, rich smoke between the officers. “Game trail is pretty clear but she’s going to be bumpy. We’ll have to go across the holler on foot though and then it’s about a mile as the crow flies.” “Why’d you go all that way to shoot a turkey?” Hargrove asked. “Ever hunted turkey, boy?” Foxy squinted at the deputy. Hargrove turned in his seat. “No. I used to hunt deer back home, but we don’t get a lot of turkeys.” “They’re elusive,” Foxy grunted. “The valley we’re going to has natural borders that aren’t worth the effort to most hunters—human and otherwise. When I was a kid, we called the valley Turkey Shoot, because there were so many of them critters about. Then came the ‘quake of ’53. Weren’t no easy way out there after that. No one hunts Turkey Shoot no more.” “So, what made you take the trip, Foxy?” Hart teeth clacked together as the tire dropped into a pothole. “Been hearing the gobblers out there for a bit. They’re getting loud like there’s too many of them, so I went to check and found a path.” Foxy scratched his chin. “When they opened the dam a few months back, it must have moved some stuff. Left a pass straight to Big Creek.” Hart turned onto the trail. They bounced in their seats until the tires found Foxy’s ruts and settled in for a marginally smoother ride. Hargrove braced himself against the dashboard and shook his head while they banged down the path. “This is more than bumpy.” Hargrove’s head thumped against the window. “Are we there yet?” “’Bout another twenty minutes,” Foxy laughed. Foxy had a great sense of time. Twenty-one minutes later, they got out of the SUV, put on their coats and grab some water bottles. “Is that,” Hart pointed at the metallic backpack, “what I think it is?” “Oh, damn. Umm, I forgot to tell you about that,” Hargrove said. “You sent me to Searcy County to buy their old gear last week. Remember?” “I don’t remember a flamethrower being on the list.” Hart scowled. “They used to burn weed crops with it and I thought it might be useful.” Hargrove shrugged. “Besides, it was only fifty-bucks.” “A flamethrower is never going to be useful.” Hart shut the hatch and shook his head. “Maybe next time you can find a bazooka.” Hargrove’s smile beamed. “I think they have two over in Pulaski. Want me to call them?” Hart pinched the bridge of his nose and started into the woods. They used the overabundance of rocks as natural stairs down the slope of the holler. Large outcroppings loomed overhead. Foxy crunched through the fallen leaves and detritus, leading the way to a groove left by a long extinct waterfall. It was steep and narrow, but craggy enough to allow the geriatric to shimmy up. Hart and Hargrove followed his lead. They made it to the edge of Big Creek where they took a breather on top of a large, flat rock. The dam at Lake Pocahontas drained along the formerly dry riverbed that people took to calling Big Creek. At the moment, it wasn’t particularly big. It looked like Foxy was right and the opening of spillway had displaced dozens of boulders, many as large as a car along this path. A series of calls sounded nearby—a rapid, putt-putt-putt that faded down and away from where it began. “Boys, we done been spotted,” Foxy said and pressed himself up, stretching his back before stepping into the creek. “That call means danger’s close.” A single yelp answered the call from a tree top. Then another to the other side. “What’s that mean?” Hargrove asked. Another half dozen of the short calls came down. Foxy squinted at the tree tops. “That’s the others saying they’re watching us. Come on. We’re almost there.” The leaves just on the other side of the creek were still damp with blood from where the John Doe had been killed making the forest floor a slippery mess. Hart huffed into his hands and rubbed them together. The man’s weapon lay undisturbed next to the largest collection of blood. A turkey feather twisted lazily in the puddle. Hart knelt and collected the shotgun, inspecting scratch-marks across the receiver. He eased the pump back and found a shell still in the chamber. A brown streak darted from the tree tops and disappeared behind a knee-high stone. Hart brought the shotgun up on instinct. “The hell was that?” Hargrove moved his hand to his pistol. “Was that a bobcat?” “No, numb-nuts.” Foxy laughed. “Was a turkey.” “Turkeys can’t fly.” The deputy saw the other men’s expressions and sighed. “Can they?” “Damn city folk,” Foxy grumbled. The bird bobbled out from its cover and Hart lowered the gun. It hissed once and called out in a burst of clucks and yelps. Another turkey answered him and lighted nearer the three men. Two more came down. A third glided past Foxy and settled beside him. The five turkeys, fat, juicy gobblers, started walking slowly. Their dangling snoods swelled and rose erect above their beaks and their wattles flared out. “What’s with the bird boners?” Hargrove asked. “That’s the snood,” Hart answered. “Means they’re excited.” “I know I’m sexy, but you’re really not my type,” Hargrove said to the closest of the flock. Six more turkeys dropped into the gaps between the others—also male, and also engorged. With the extra members, the formation became clear and the birds circled the men. Foxy’s knife hissed as it cleared the leather sheath. “They’re doing a predator check.” Foxy shook his head. “They want to make sure we’re not a threat, that’s all.” “Then why you getting antsy?” Hart looked at the old man and the blade trembling between his bony fingers. “Sonsofbitches are huge. Not one less than thirty pounds. And look at the snood on that one.” He stepped closer to the sheriff and pointed out one of the birds, then redirected his finger. “And that one.” “What about it?” Hargrove eased his pistol out. “It’s probably a foreign concept to you,” Hart said with a smirk, “but the ladies like big ones. There’s one dominant male in an area. Why are there two massive toms in this group?” Hargrove bent and squinted at one of the accused as they continued their death march around the trio. “That’s a mighty interesting question, Sheriff. I got a better one?” He shifted to a two-handed grip on his weapon. “Why the fuck has that one got flannel stuck in his chest hair?” Hart glanced at the bird and saw the shred of red shirt dangling from the beard and the slightly too-dark spots on its feathers where blood had caked on. He saw it, but he didn’t understand—not until the bird flapped toward him, gobbling ferociously. The sheriff backpedaled and fell with the bird coming straight for him. He raised the shotgun, barring the creature’s attack. Its claws scratched at the steel along with the older markings and Hart realized just what had happened to the dead man in Rhoda’s orthodontic mortuary. Deputy Hargrove kicked the bird like a game winning field goal and opened up with a barrage of gunfire before it could right itself. He grabbed the sheriff’s collar and hoisted him to his feet. The turkeys were no longer circling. They stood perfectly still looking at their fallen comrade and then at the trespassers. The birds took methodical steps forward, clucking between themselves and the circle began to dilate in on the humans. Foxy snatched the shotgun from Hart and fired, leaving a cloud of drifting feathers where a turkey used to be. “We should be running!” The three men sprinted for Big Creek, blasting away at their attackers. The birds gave chase. The trees rustled with excitement and the hens began swooping to the ground and joined in the pursuit. A fierce, primal gobble filled the valley and snapping branches signaled the coming of more feathery fiends. Hart looked over his shoulder in time to see the single, titanic beast tearing from the underbrush. The Saint Bernard-sized tom lowered its head and ran for all it was worth to catch up with the rest of his rafter. He quickly passed the others who fell in formation behind him. Hargrove dashed across the creek and took a knee, laying down fire for Hart. Foxy was hobbling along as fast as his eighty-three-year-old legs would carry him, but the birds were closing in. Hart stopped, turned, and lifted the senior over his shoulder. The slide locked back on Hargrove’s pistol and he reached for a fresh magazine only to find the holder empty. Hart crossed the creek and dumped Foxy into the deputy’s arms, wheezing from the effort. The men made it another hundred feet before Hargrove slowed and tugged Hart’s coat. “Wait!” “Now’s not the time to wait, kid.” Hart turned and stopped cold. Foxy limped ahead and rested against a tree to see what the hold-up was. He watched the birds flapping their wings and calling out in frustration as they paced the near-side of the creek among the array of scattered boulders. He raised the shotgun to his shoulder and lined the bead-sight up with the large, dominant male. “Don’t shoot,” Hargrove said, patting the air. “It’s turkey load. You get past the feathers on that thing.” “Kid’s right,” Hart concurred. “Why’d they stop?” “Because they’re dumb,” Foxy grumbled. “Them rocks used to be one big heap. They don’t realize the wall is gone.” “And they never needed to fly over it.” Hart backed away slowly. “Let’s get back to town and call Game and Fish. Man-eating turkeys is their jurisdiction.” “Why?” Hargrove asked. “Why are they eating meat?” “They always ate meat, numb-nuts.” Foxy lowered the shotgun. “Turkeys eat lizards and snakes. They get big enough, I reckon they start on squirrels and groundhogs too. That monster, probably takes down anything he comes across though.” “And the bird with the biggest face-dick gets all the turkey pussy,” Hargrove muttered. “Shit. These others are his babies. They got their daddy’s taste buds.” “What is he doing?” Hart pointed at the father of the flock. The big tom took a hesitant step forward, prodding the ground with long, slender toes before curling his claws into it. The snood dangling over the side of his face twitched and swelled. He clucked twice. Some of the hens answered with yelps and putts. Two males mounted the boulders, their heads jerking side-to-side quizzically before one of them hopped down and landed on the other side. The leader threw his head back and gobbled, causing a chain of jovial calls from his brood. “I think they just figured out they can leave,” Hart whispered. “They got everything they need here,” Hargrove replied. The smaller birds squatted and wiggled in place before launching themselves into the air, soaring just over the heads of the men. “Like you said, kid—they got their daddy’s taste buds.” Hart started jogging toward the car. “It’s Thanksgiving, they’re going to want to have supper with the family just like everyone else.” “The diner,” Foxy said grimly. “They can’t fly for very long, but they can go where we can’t. We can still beat them there if we hurry,” Hart said on the run. The tom cried out and leapt onto a boulder. For his height, he was considerably lean thanks to his largely carnivorous diet. Hargrove watched him for a moment. “Something that big can’t fly right?” he asked. “I must’ve missed Animal Planet when they was talking ‘bout giant, flesh-eating turkeys,” Foxy told him. The turkey squatted. “Fuck me!” Hargrove turned and darted after the sheriff with the bird’s wings beating powerfully overhead. ** The Durango slid to a stop in front of the Dine Inn with its lights flashing and siren screaming. Foxy leaned against the window, still panting from exertion. Hargrove sprang out and addressed the line of diners making their plates along the buffet tables. “Everybody get inside the turkeys are coming,” he shouted. Everyone cheered. “No, not the ones to eat,” he corrected. “The ones that are going to eat you.” The residents looked at the young man curiously and exchanged glances. Some eased further from the bedraggled deputy and others burst into laughter. None of them moved inside. “Listen up!” Hart cocked his rifle. “The deputy gave you a lawful order. There’s a flock of rabid turkeys attacking folks and I’m going to need all of you to proceed to shelter immediately.” “Turkeys can’t get rabies, Sheriff,” Barney Allen said. “And they travel in rafters, not flocks,” Willard Bly added. “It’s a new rabies.” Hart pinched the bridge of his nose. “It’s from China.” “It doesn’t matter what it is.” Rhoda pushed her way between the folks gathered around her table of assorted pies. “Foxy found a dead man this morning and what the Sheriff’s saying lines up. We need to get you all inside.” “That’s why you don’t let no dentist be the coroner,” Barney grumbled. “Let alone a woman dentist. It all sounds fake to me. Ain’t no such thing as killer turkeys.” The killer turkey that divebombed Barney did not agree. The man crashed into the arms of Willard, who screamed highly as the bird thrust its head into Barney’s throat and wriggled deeper into its prey. He dumped Barney to the sidewalk and ran, shouldering smaller diners out of his way. A tom hit him between the shoulders, driving him through a table full of greens. Everyone panicked. Some of the mountain folk drew guns and fired at the birds that were gathering overhead and landing in the streets. The sharp ping of a ricochet was followed by the hollering of the bystander it struck. More of the residents ran for the gun-racks in their vehicles for more formidable weapons. Most just ran. A shotgun blast removed the car mirror a foot behind Hart. “Every fucking time,” Hart groaned. “These yahoos are going to kill as many of themselves as the goddamn turkeys do. We need to wrap this up!” “I’m open for suggestions, boss.” Hargrove kicked a hen against the side of the diner. A jake landed on his back and pecked his skull. He shrieked as it tore a strip of flesh from his neck. He swatted at it, only for the foul fowl to roll and slice his hand with its spurs. The bird pushed its head into his flesh and the deputy fell to his knees. There was a boom and the attack finally ceased. Hargrove reached behind him and pulled the severed head of the juvenile from his collar. Feathers drifted calmly around him and Caroline winked at him from behind the sights of her shotgun. She pivoted and hit another and then a third. Hargrove tried to ignore the swelling of his own snood while he watched the girl pick off murder-turkeys like she was trying to win the big stuffed animal at a carnival duck-shoot. The rafter gathered its numbers. Turkeys swooped from the roofs and tackled anyone still running. A tom circled a pickup, clucking angrily after the prey that cowered beneath it. A pair of smaller jakes had no problem spotting the man and sprang at him, pecking at his legs. The man kicked at them and clutched the undercarriage as the birds tried to drag him out. An artery tore open in his fight, splattering the road and drawing more turkeys to the party. Gunfire erupted tearing chunks from the road and managing to kill a jake before the turkeys leapt back into the air. Bullets pinged through the body of the truck—and the body beneath it. The Walsh Cousins, all six of them that weren’t currently in jail, walked side-by-side with their automatic rifles bucking wildly between whoops and howls of excitement. Bobby-Joe Walsh dropped his empty magazine to the ground and spat tobacco juice from the corner of his smirking mouth. “Don’t worry yourself none, Sheriff. Nothing the judicious application of the second amendment can’t handle. Whoo!” The remaining members of the flock gathered on the store front eves. Eddy Walsh dropped one like a beer can off a fence post. The males threw their heads back and gobbled in unison as the rest of the Walshes opened fire on them. “Why aren’t they attacking anymore?” Hart asked while he checked on a clawed-up victim keening in the street. “They’re just letting themselves get shot. It’s like they’re waiting for something.” The alpha turkey plummeted out of the night sky and flattened Eddy beneath its bulk. Its lanky neck stretched in a flash and Bobby-Joe’s belly spilled open. The other Walshes found themselves as quickly dismembered before the behemoth turned its attention to a guttural cry from behind. Willard stood clutching two lifeless turkeys in his massive fists. His clothes were torn asunder and he leaked from hundreds of pecks, but somehow stayed breathing. He threw the carcasses aside. The tom tore open Eddy’s throat and gobbled at his challenger. Willard roared back and they charged one another. Hart raised his rifle. His leg buckled, sending the shot into the sky. The quartet of hens pecked him until he fell. The tom leapt on the run and took Willard’s head off as it glided toward the last person still standing. “Oh, damn it all to hell.” Hargrove reached for his pistol belt, pulling his baton before the turkey slammed into him. They crashed through the window of the Dine Inn and slid across the stained, linoleum floor. Hargrove swung the baton up to deflect the turkey’s peck. It reared its bald, pink head back for another go and Hargrove grabbed for its two-foot-long beard, tearing the hairs from its chest. The baton thunked off the monster’s skull and the deputy tried to crawl away before the leathery foot pinned his head to the tile. “Hey! Big Bird!” Hart raised the rifle. “Time for the main course.” He lined the sight up with the beady, saurian eye staring back at him. Then, the rafter swarmed him. Between the flurry of attacking fiends, the sheriff could see Foxy sauntering across the street from the general store. The geezer puffed his pipe and the bag of Wonder bread swung from his spotted fist like terror-turkeys weren’t murdering the townsfolk. A beak dug into Hart’s cheek, pulling him back to the current crisis. Hart clamped his teeth onto the bird’s throat and kicked another into the air, snapping his rifle up and blasting it like a clay pigeon. He punched another and the group launched away from their victim. Hargrove tried pressing himself up, but the tom dribbled his head off the floor. The deputy wasn’t sure which would crack first, but knew one of them was imminent. Caroline’s shotgun rumbled through the diner. The tom’s tail feathers spread and rustled. It lowered its weight, putting pressure on Hargrove’s skull, preparing to lunge… Then its offspring started screaming. The alpha turned. Turkeys flailed and flopped in the street, some dashed madly with their feathers burning brightly. The octogenarian stepped into the diner with the flamethrower casually slung over one shoulder. “Don’t you know. I always supply the turkey around these parts,” he grumbled. A stream of pressurized fuel shot through the pilot light, igniting on its path to the titanic tom. The jellied petroleum clung to its feather, withering them all the way to the skin. The bird shrieked and leapt toward the old man. The flamethrower sputtered, hissed, and then extinguished. Foxy stood his ground. The empty fuel tank clanged as it fell to the ground. Foxy’s weathered hand eased to his belt. Hart watched in terror as the bird with the funeral pyre plumage charged the senior citizen. His oozing wounds ached as he stretched for his rifle, praying to get off a shot before Foxy was torn to pieces. His fingers found the grip of the rifle and he wrestled it to his shoulder. Hart wasn’t about to lose another citizen of Masco County. He squeezed the trigger and the striker fell on the empty chamber with a sharp, soul-crushing, snap. Foxy turned away. His arm looped through the air and the tom ran past him, bouncing off a wall before collapsing. Its beak clicked open and closed on the floor. “Fried was always better than roasted anyhow.” The old man kicked the severed head away from him and shrugged. Hargrove rolled over and shielded his eyes from the glare of the burning bird. He watched Foxy slip the knife back into his belt and walk to the Durango. “I ain’t never liked these social gatherings.” Foxy climbed into the passenger seat. “I want to get home now.” “I guess we’ll be serving turkey through Valentine’s at this rate,” Caroline said as she helped the deputy to his feet. She braced him against her and helped him outside. “What’d I get myself into?” Hargrove moaned. Caroline scrunched her nose. “Things get a little strange up here.” Bodies littered the street. Rhoda was treating patients in front of the VFW with the help of other survivors. A siren cried down in the holler as emergency vehicles wound their way up the mountain. That’s what communities did when bad things happened. They came together. And Masco County gave them plenty of opportunity to prove it. Hart made it to the Durango and gripped the doorframe for balance. “What you doing for Christmas, Foxy?” he asked. “Avoiding you. I’m too old for this shit.” The old man jerked the door from Hart’s grip and slammed it shut. “And Happy Thanksgiving!” “Yeah.” Hart nodded. “Happy Thanksgiving.” And then he passed out. The End

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